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NEWS
May 27, 2013
Wednesday -   Jams and jellies, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In this session, the discussion will be on the types of jellied products that can be made at home, the ingredients needed, the necessary equipment and supplies, and the basic steps of water bath canning. Participants will spend time in the kitchen preparing and canning a jellied product.  Saturday - Preserving flowers and plant material, 9 to 11 a.m. This will be a hands-on class, introducing the many methods of preserving the beauty of nature, allowing participants to take home fresh flowers placed in different preserving materials.
NEWS
August 26, 2013
I have the privilege of serving on several boards, committees and advisory councils locally and around the state.   In most cases, I find these opportunities not only a responsibility but a blessing. It should be no secret to regular readers that I thoroughly enjoy my job. However, you knew the other shoe was about to drop. There are times when I get frustrated. My frustration in this case is justified in that well-educated people should know better. There is a buzzword today in education, which is STEM.
NEWS
By JEFF SEMLER | September 14, 2010
What is Agriculture? Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines it this way: the science or art of cultivating the soil, producing a crop and raising livestock. A synonym given is farming and is probably what most people think of as agriculture. Judging from this definition, agriculture should enjoy very high esteem. Yet, what has happened to agriculture's image and reputation is not unlike what has happened to many trades. In our post-modern culture, working with one's hands is considered by many as lowly or demeaning.
NEWS
By JEFF SEMLER | jsemler@umd.edu | April 9, 2013
In addition to working with farmers, I often get the opportunity to speak to professional and civic organizations locally and in other states. Many times I am asked questions by someone who has read something or seen a video clip or movie produced by people with agendas. While there is nothing wrong with watching or reading such things, the problem is the average reader or watcher has no foundation of knowledge through which to filter the information. We have come to a point in our society where we are on average three generations from the farm.
NEWS
September 29, 2011
The Maryland Department of Agriculture recently recognized employees for their years of service to the department. The following area employees were recognized: 30 years Edward Crow, Thurmont, Md., pesticide regulation Thomas Lupp, Frederick, Md., forest pest management 25 years Christopher Firme, Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., forest pest management Moana Himes, Frederick, resource conservation...
NEWS
By JEFF SEMLER | jsemler@umd.edu | June 25, 2012
Agricultural literacy is a large concern of mine, and sort of a cause, if you will. My concern was heightened when I read about a survey conducted by a British charity called LEAF, which revealed that only 40 percent of young adults associated cows with milk. Furthermore, only 33 percent and 36 percent, respectively, were unaware eggs came from chickens and bacon comes from pigs. So what is agriculture?  Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines it this way: The science or art of cultivating the soil, producing a crop and raising livestock.  A synonym given is farming, and is probably what most people think of as agriculture.  At best, agriculture is part of people's nostalgia, Farmer Brown or Grandpa's Farm.
NEWS
February 27, 2012
Is agriculture an economic engine, a part of national defense or is it just producing food? I guess it depends on your point of view. However, I would say it is all three. How can it be, you say? First, let's look at agriculture as an economic engine. According to a report from the Pennsylvania Dairy Task Force Economic Development Committee, when a dairy farm spends money locally, it creates a multiplier effect more than two times the original dollar. In other words, for every $1 a dairy farm spends, roughly $2.50 in wages and related business transactions is contributed to the local economy.
NEWS
September 17, 2012
One-hundred-and-fifty years ago Monday, this county was the scene of the bloodiest single day of the Civil War or the War of Northern Aggression. If you are a frequent reader of this column, then you know I am almost as passionate about history as I am about agriculture. As we look back, “The 1860 agricultural census of Washington County portrays pre-war Sharpsburg as a district of prime land, crops, and animal husbandry (the raising of livestock). Typically, wheat, Indian corn, hay, rye oats and Irish potatoes were the crops raised.
NEWS
By DON AINES | June 15, 1998
by DON AINES enlargement CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - "It's cows, it's plows, it's sows," Mimi Lufkin said last week of the perception many students have of the Chambersburg Area School District's Agricultural Education Program. Cloistered away in a group of classrooms and offices in the northwest corner of Chambersburg Area Senior High School, the Agricultural Education Program doesn't have the visibility it needs to attract more diverse students, the consultant from Christiana, Pa., told the school board last Wednesday.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | May 3, 2008
SMITHSBURG - Smithsburg High School had an air of Old MacDonald on Friday. The school's chapter of Future Farmers of America brought a cow and some pigs, sheep and goats to the school grounds, and invited elementary students to see them. "When they see the animals, their faces light up," said senior Morgan Smith, the president of Smithsburg's FFA, which is part of a national organization. The high school students intended Farm Fun Day as a chance for youngsters to pat animals and maybe learn a little about the ways of agriculture.
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NEWS
August 26, 2013
I have the privilege of serving on several boards, committees and advisory councils locally and around the state.   In most cases, I find these opportunities not only a responsibility but a blessing. It should be no secret to regular readers that I thoroughly enjoy my job. However, you knew the other shoe was about to drop. There are times when I get frustrated. My frustration in this case is justified in that well-educated people should know better. There is a buzzword today in education, which is STEM.
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NEWS
August 26, 2013
Gabrielle Cory of Leonardtown, Md., in St. Mary's County, was named Miss Maryland Agriculture during opening-night festivities at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium. Sponsored by the Maryland Farm Bureau and Maryland State Fair, the two-day competition culminated with an on-stage contest Friday.   Twenty-two county farm bureaus were represented during the annual event. Janai Heise represented Washington County and Beth Reed represented Frederick County, Md. Taking the top agriculture spokesperson title, Cory, 16, lives on a 20-acre farmstead dedicated to forest conservation and also has sheep, cattle and poultry housed on her grandmother's farm.
NEWS
August 19, 2013
Twenty-three young women, including  Janai Heise of Washington County, will be competing for the Miss Maryland Agriculture title during opening night festivities at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium, Md. The on-stage contest will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Cow Palace at the fairgrounds. The 2012 Miss Maryland Agriculture Phyllis Mc-Kenzie of Carroll County, Md., will pass on the responsibilities of the state's agricultural spokesperson at the conclusion of the two-day competition sponsored by the Maryland Farm Bureau and Maryland State Fair.
NEWS
August 12, 2013
You have heard the question: How are we going to feed 9 billion people? That is the expected world population total by 2050. Today, the Earth is home to a little more than 7 billion people, which by the way, we do not consistently feed. Not because we do not produce enough food, but because of infrastructure issues and political corruption. Actually, agriculture produces enough calories to feed 9 billion people. However, as Michael Pollan reminds us, eating and food is more than simply consuming calories.
NEWS
July 23, 2013
The Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission has opened nominations for the 2013 Washington County Farm of the Year. Designed to recognize and honor the rich agricultural heritage embedded in the county, the award is open to all farms in Washington County on 5 or more acres of land. Applications must be submitted by Aug. 9. To qualify, entrants must: Operate a farm or agricultural business or know a farm or agricultural business in the county, regardless of the size or scope.
OPINION
July 22, 2013
For decades now, many of us have bought into the conventional wisdom that agriculture was a dying industry in Washington County. Heavy industry dominated the second half of the last century, and those who look to the future often as not point out the possibilities of services and technology. Worse, economic realities have driven a number of farms out of operation and seen the land sold for building lots. But as Ag Expo continues in Washington County this week, it's a good time to give agriculture a new look - and come out to support the young people who continue to carry the torch of country living.
NEWS
By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com | July 20, 2013
It is arguably a glamorous week for 1,024-pound Hereford beef steer Schmitty. His typical surroundings are “all mucky,” said Caleb McDougal, 13, of Smithsburg, who raised the placid light-brown brute. This week, at the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair though, Schmitty is receiving movie-star treatment with daily baths, brushing and blow-drying. “I'm getting him ready to show him in the ring,” Caleb said. “People will bid on my animal and pay by the pound.” While Schmitty's fate following purchase Thursday night might be viewed as unglamorous or even morbid, he likely will be savored by a buyer.
NEWS
By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com | July 16, 2013
Deadly gases, a lack of oxygen and temperatures well above 100 degrees are some of the factors that could make silo entrapments such as the one that occurred Tuesday on Lehmans Mill Road extremely hazardous, according to experts. Jeff Semler, an Extension educator specializing in agriculture and natural resources for the University of Maryland Extension in Washington County, said one of the chief hazards in silo accidents is the risk of gas - in particular, carbon dioxide. “You can get unconscious very fast due to the lack of oxygen,” Semler said.
NEWS
June 10, 2013
When you hear the phrase “the boys of summer,” what comes to mind? Is it the 1984 hit by Don Henley? Or do your thoughts turn to baseball like a friend of mine, to the Nationals or the Orioles? Or to the nonfiction work by Roger Kahn about the Brooklyn Dodgers? For me, the boys of summer were the boys that got summer jobs on the farms around our county. There was a time when high school youths would be employed on area farms to load and unload hay and straw, as well as other seasonal jobs.
NEWS
May 27, 2013
Wednesday -   Jams and jellies, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In this session, the discussion will be on the types of jellied products that can be made at home, the ingredients needed, the necessary equipment and supplies, and the basic steps of water bath canning. Participants will spend time in the kitchen preparing and canning a jellied product.  Saturday - Preserving flowers and plant material, 9 to 11 a.m. This will be a hands-on class, introducing the many methods of preserving the beauty of nature, allowing participants to take home fresh flowers placed in different preserving materials.
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