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Holy cow! Group proposes dairy shrine

August 06, 2005|By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Dairy enthusiasts might one day find their promised land in Washington County.

A group, with roots in Frederick, Md., wants to build a dairy shrine and museum off Sharpsburg Pike to honor the state's dairy heritage and industry.

Maryland Dairy Shrine Inc. is expected to present plans for the facility at Tuesday's Washington County Commissioners meeting.

The group has proposed that Maryland Dairy Shrine and Museum be built within two years at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center. It would be paid for with donations, Matthew Iager, a member of the Maryland Dairy Shrine's search committee, said Friday.

The agenda packet states the facility would include a visitors center, a large conference center, antiques, collectibles, art, exhibits and artifacts.

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The purpose of the shrine and museum is to recognize Maryland dairy leaders, pioneers, farmers and breeders, Iager said.

"It would picture those leaders who made the industry what it is today and provide a suggestion of what is yet to come," according to the information.

Iager, who also is a veterinarian with Mid-Maryland Dairy Veterinarian in Hagerstown, said he hopes the County Commissioners approve the shrine and museum on Tuesday.

"If they approve it, we're in good shape, and we can get the ball rolling," Iager said.

Iager declined to give a cost estimate for the facility, saying, "It's going to take a large fundraising effort - a lot of donations."

The Maryland Dairy Shrine was established in 1963 and once was based in Frederick. Currently without a permanent home, Iager said the Agricultural Education Center would be a nice fit for the shrine and museum. He said the facility could complement the Rural Heritage Museum, which is on the education center's property.

"The Agricultural Education Center - that over there would make a terrific home for this place," he said.

The shrine and museum would be modeled after the National Dairy Shrine in Fort Atkinson, Wis.

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