After more than 90 years, 2012 Farm of the Year remains a family affair

August 25, 2012|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Washington Co. Commissioner Jeff Cline reads a plaque before presenting it to the Herbst family of Misty Meadow Farm as 2012 Farm of the Year for Washington County.
by Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

SHARPSBURG, Md. — David Herbst has had dirt under his fingernails for as long as he can remember.

And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

As the owner of Misty Meadow Farm in Smithsburg, he comes from a long line of relatives who have made a living from the soil.

That includes his grandfather, who moved to the property in 1918, arriving on a horse and wagon.

“I can still remember as a child going out to the fields with Grandpap to pick rocks,” Herbst said. “While Dad was planting, we would get another field ready.”

Herbst probably never imagined at such a young age that one day, he would be in charge of the farm.

Nor could he have seen all of the advances that would take place in the world of farming.

“There’s no more rock picking,” he mused. “Now, we’re mostly no-till.”

The Herbst family’s years of dedication to agriculture were recognized Saturday afternoon when Misty Meadow Farm was named the 2012 Farm of the Year.

This is the second time Washington County, through its economic development commission, has given the award.

Ceremonies took place at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, coinciding with the annual Spudfest.

Misty Meadow Farm has a dairy herd, raises crops, operates a creamery and is involved in agritourism.

“This is quite an honor,” David Herbst said following the announcement. “It’s an honor for the entire family.”

“Washington County is a beautiful place to live, and agriculture is a big part of that,” he added.

An honorable mention was given to Aliabaad Farm of Sharpsburg, a vegetable, chicken and goat operation owned by Ali Mohadjer.

In April of this year, Aliabaad experienced a devastating loss of the barn and more than $250,000 worth of equipment, supplies and chickens, said Leslie Hart, an EDC agriculture marketing specialist. But the setback was turned around and the future holds an expansion of infrastructure on the farm.

Hart said the Farm of the Year award is intended “to recognize good agricultural practices and good agriculture in our community. It’s what makes our community beautiful. It also feeds us.”

Judging criteria included production, conservation, innovation, community involvement and dedication to agriculture.

After more than 90 years, the 376-acre Misty Meadow Farm remains a family affair. In addition to he and his wife, Betsy, other relatives who work on the farm include Jennifer Malott, Justin Malott, Andrew Herbst, Megan Herbst, Kimberly West and Sean West.

Herbst said he and his family are dedicated to agriculture because it’s good for communities.

“It provides open space for plants to grow that provide for clean air and water and, most importantly, food production,” he said. “The more people who can buy fresh local food and see how it is produced, the more educated they become about their food.”

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