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Farm Queen shows dedication

May 16, 1999

Farm QueenBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

It's easy to see Katherine L. Herbst has a gift for understatement.

Just moments before being crowned Washington County 1999 Farm Queen, Herbst expressed her excitement and anxiety about receiving the title.

"It's kind of scary. I've never had this big a responsibility before," she said at the Sunday afternoon ceremony at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

But giving speeches and wearing a tiara should be a breeze compared to the work she does before breakfast on a typical morning.


Herbst is no stranger to commitment.

Living on 375-acre dairy farm in Smithsburg, the 17-year-old helps her family milk 120 cows twice a day. She also does housework and runs errands for her parents and three siblings.

In addition, she is the sole caretaker of about 15 calves, all under the age of 2 months. The job includes bottle feeding, mixing up milk substitutes, maintaining bedding pens, feeding them grain and giving medications.

And all this she does before spending a full day at Smithsburg High School. She repeats the process after school.

"We were impressed with her. She's a busy girl," said Mary Jane Coffman, a member of the Farm Bureau Women's Committee.

Throughout the year, the Farm Queen will be expected to speak on agriculture-related issues before local organizations and attend the annual Mummer's Parade and other events.

As in the past three years, there was only one applicant for the title for 1999, Coffman said.

The bureau has had difficulty finding entrants in recent years. She said teenage girls may hesitate to participate because they are involved in other extracurricular activities.

The bureau's $50 annual fee may also be a deterrent to getting involved, she said.

Despite her busy schedule, Herbst said it was important for her to run for the title.

"I want to educate the public, young and old, about the importance of agriculture throughout the state," she said in her acceptance speech.

Herbst said she will make a point to explain farming processes to children and adults who may be misinformed or have complaints about odors emitted from the fields.

As 1999 Farm Queen, she said she will continue promoting the farming industry as she did for the past three years as a Washington County Dairy Maid and 1998 Milking Shorthorn Queen.

Herbst was crowned by 1998 Farm Queen Kristen Davis, 17, of Williamsport. Davis placed first runner-up in the 1999 State Farm Queen pageant in August. Also attending the ceremony was 1999 Maryland State Farm Queen Emily O'Hara, 19, of Frederick County.

According to Herbst's entrance application, she is a three-year member of her school's Latin Club, president of the Smithsburg High School Chapter of the Future Farmers of America and a member of Ringgold 4-H Club, 4-H Dairy Club and 4-H Leaders Council.

As a member of the Ringgold Church of Christ Church, she participates in youth group programs and the teen choir.

Her plans include attending college to become a veterinarian, she said in the essay. "The challenge of working with animals and to be able to perform surgeries really excites me."

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