Rhodes, Richardsons join Md. ag Hall of Fame
GLEN BURNIE, Md. — As the Maryland Agriculture Council celebrated 50 years of bringing together leaders in the state’s farming and legislative communities, Gov. Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder inducted two Eastern Shore families into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.
The new inductees — the Rhodes family of Queen Anne’s County and the Richardson family of Worcester County — accepted the awards in front of more than 900 agricultural leaders and legislators from across the state at Michael’s Eighth Avenue on Feb. 6.
In 1970, several Maryland agriculture groups joined forces to start the annual event, now known as Taste of Maryland Agriculture, offering farmers and legislators an opportunity to engage in conversation on farming issues and celebrate the strength of the industry. The 50th annual event recognized founding sponsors, donors and farms that contributed
Maryland-produced food for the event and all attendees received a commemorative 50th anniversary coin.
“Congratulations to all of tonight’s recipients and honorees and congratulations to the Maryland Agriculture Council on 50 successful years of hosting this event,” Hogan said. “Agriculture continues to be our state’s leading industry, and I want everyone to know that your commitment to our communities, our state, and our thriving agriculture industry does not go unnoticed.”
The Rhodes and Richardson families are the 51st and 52nd inductees in the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Pat and Temple Rhodes began their family farm operation in 1959 on rented ground in Easton. In 1961, the Rhodes purchased their first farm, Chestnut Vale, in Centreville. Over the next several years, Chestnut Vale Farm became home to Pat and Temple’s children: Jenny, Betsy, Susan, Carole, and Temple, Jr. The family began with a dairy herd and transitioned to a cow-calf operation in 1968, raising nearly 200 head of Angus cattle per year. Throughout his decades of farming, Temple Rhode, remains committed to conservation and has embraced the use of technology and other best management practices to maintain a profitable, environmentally-sound operation, MDA said.
Pat Rhodes has been involved with the local 4-H club since her children were young, and continues to be an ardent supporter of University of Maryland Extension programs.
The Rhodes family is a fixture in the Queen Anne’s County agriculture community, from offering up their land and equipment to support the county fair and other events at the county’s nearby 4-H Park, to their involvement at Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Centreville.
Roger Richardson and his wife Fay have farms in Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset counties. Richardson Farm dates back to 1767. Roger currently operates the farm with his daughter, grandson, and great-grandson, while Fay has been instrumental in the continued growth and diversification of the family farm business. The family grows corn, soybeans and wheat. In 1980, the Richardsons diversified their operation by starting a private trucking company dedicated to the transportation of agricultural products. In addition to precision farming techniques, the Richardsons have adopted both conservation and no-till practices to manage nutrients and meet soil and water conservation goals.
In the late 1970s, Roger was one of 14 men appointed by then Gov. Marvin Mandel to create the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Thirty-five years later, then-Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed Roger to serve as Maryland Secretary of Agriculture, overseeing the agency he helped create. In addition to his involvement with the department, Roger has held several leadership positions with local, state, and national organizations, including: the Agricultural Stewardship Commission, the Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, and stints as president and vice-president of the National Association of Farmer Elected Committees. With decades of knowledge and experience, Roger and Fay Richardson continue to support and advocate for farmers on the Lower Eastern Shore, Maryland, and beyond.
Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame was created in 1991 by then Governor William Donald Schaefer to honor agricultural leaders who exemplify high standards of achievement and commitment to the industry and their communities. Nominations are accepted at local University of Maryland Extension offices.
“These two families are outstanding examples of Maryland agriculture’s leadership and commitment to implementing conservation practices while maintaining successful farm operations,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder.
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