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Farms recognized for business awards

March 12, 2012|By JEFF SEMLER

On Feb. 29, I attended the 13th annual Washington County Business Awards, which was held at Hager Hall Grand Ballroom in Hagerstown.

The event was co-hosted by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, and is one of the most anticipated events of the season.

I am also pleased to announce that two of the award winners were farms. Yes, family-farm-based businesses.

Creek Bound Farms, the Jim and Bonnie Weddle Family, won the Leading Edge Award, which is awarded to a Washington County business that leverages technology to advance its organization. This might be an innovative use of an existing technology, a new invention offered for sale, or creating or developing a significant advancement that serves as an inspiration for future progress.

The other winner was Misty Meadow Farm Creamery. It won the Small Business of the Year Award (fewer than 50 employees), which is awarded to a Washington County business that has demonstrated any or all of the following: product or serve quality, job creation, innovation, strong community involvement, high standard in business practice, commitment to Washington County and the community and who has established a successful business.

What was interesting were some of the comments that were overheard around the room: “Why are all these farms winning?” To me it simply reinforces some of my favorite quotes, as follows:

“Most Americans are two to four generations removed from the farm. The general public has very little idea what agriculture is about. Food is cheap and plentiful. Everyone takes it for granted.” — Shawn S. Stevenson.

The other is from President Dwight Eisenhower: “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you are a thousand miles from the corn field.”

Agriculture is a business, and while also a way of life, every farmer is a businessman. They are also fearless; the capital invested on most farms is not for the faint hearted.

The small business of the year, Misty Meadow Farm, at 14230 Misty Meadow Road, Smithsburg, is a multigenerational operation which needed to do something in order for the younger generation to join the business.

 It went back to the future.

The farm is processing some of its own milk on the farm. It is bottling milk and making ice cream from its farm fresh milk, and it also offers beef, pork and eggs, also from the farm.

Join the farm Saturday for its official grand opening even though it opened earlier this year. If the weatherman is correct, the recent warmer weather is just right for a couple of scoops of delicious local ice cream.

While you are there, look around at the beautiful farm landscapes and remember the words of President John Kennedy: “Our farmers deserve praise, not condemnation; and their efficiency should be cause for gratitude, not something for which they are penalized.”


 Jeff Semler is an Extension educator, specializing in agriculture and natural resources, for the University of Maryland Extension. He is based in Washington County. He can be reached at 301-791-1404, ext. 25, or by email at jsemler@umd.edu.

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