Frederick County farmers win excellence award for 2018

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Frederick County Farm Bureau President Robert Ramsburg holds the Silver Bowl award presented to the chapter for having the best overall program in 2018.

Frederick County set the bar for excellence in 2018 and took home the Silver Bowl award from the Maryland Farm Bureau annual convention.

Each year, the state farm bureau recognizes two counties for maintaining the best overall program. The counties are judged on six program areas: communications, government relations, county board organization, promotion and agricultural education, membership and leadership development.

“We felt we were very active and accomplished a lot in agriculture” this year, said Frederick County Farm Bureau President Robert Ramsburg, whose term ends this month.

As far as the farmers could remember, this was the first time a county had won the Silver Bowl two years in a row. The local organization also took home the award in 2017.

Part of the award is based on membership quotas — with the goal to increase membership in each county by 1 percent annually — which Frederick County fell a “little short” of this year, Ramsburg said. However, when the Maryland Farm Bureau showed a star-ranking of all the counties, Frederick County was at the top.

“I was elated,” Ramsburg said. “I was very pleased.”

The counties are divided into two groups based on having more or less than 900 members. The Frederick County Farm Bureau won the award for counties with more than 900 members, said Emily Solis, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Farm Bureau.

Queen Anne’s County was presented the Silver Bowl award this year for counties with under 900 members.

Ramsburg credited his team’s work at The Great Frederick Fair for the repeat award. Each year, the Frederick County Farm Bureau donates money toward a fair sponsorship and to the school system to help cover the cost of transporting students to the fairgrounds.

The students are given a map with seven stations to visit, which are staffed by farm bureau members.

Ramsburg personally volunteers at the Milky Way and explains the workings of the dairy industry, from which he retired in 2011. He expects most second- and third-graders have questions about how milk production works, but he has been more surprised by what teachers and chaperones don’t know.

For instance, most adults don’t realize cows need to birth a calf annually in order to produce milk.

Other farm bureau members volunteer at the City Streets, County Roads booth — including Ramsburg’s wife, Nola “Cookie” Ramsburg, who shows kids how butter and ice cream are made — and the Farm and Garden building. Each brings a unique skill set and knowledge to the fair.

“We have different people with expertise in different things,” he said.

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