May 25, 2021
Everyone in the ag community knows just how diverse mid-Atlantic agriculture is.
Within a couple hours’ drive, you’ll see vast orchards in Adams County, Pa.; modern animal ag operations down on the Eastern Shore; and in between some of the most intensive and innovative small farms anywhere in the country.
The 2021 class of Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers is a cross section of this region’s diverse agriculture:
Brad and Kay Hollabaugh of Biglerville, Pa., who help raise 410 acres of tree fruits, small fruits and vegetables
John and Aimee Good of Germansville, Pa., who raise 16 acres of 40 types of organic vegetables
P. Thomas and Alice Mason of Chestertown, Md., who farm 3,920 acres and raise 1,300 head of dairy cattle
Full profile stories and slideshows are being posted this week, starting today with a profile of Brad and Kay Hollabaugh. Wednesday will feature John and Aimee Good, and Thursday will feature P. Thomas and Alice Mason.
This year’s crop of Master Farmers comprises the 87th class of Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers.
It is America’s longest-running and most prestigious agricultural honors program. It sprouted in 1927 as part of a Master Farmers of America program to foster stewardship and leadership. At that point, the program was initiated by Pennsylvania Farmer magazine and USDA.
Today, the award is co-sponsored by American Agriculturist magazine and by Cooperative Extension programs in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia. AgChoice Farm Credit, MidAtlantic Farm Credit and FS/Growmark are supportive partners.
The Master Farmer award is the lifetime achievement award of agriculture that recognizes exemplary role models of outstanding management, land stewardship and community leadership.
Candidates are nominated by individuals and organizations. Once nominated, candidates receive application forms to complete. This year’s applications were viewed and scored by a four-judge panel in February and March. Final selections were made in late March.
Scoring is weighted as follows: 75% farm management/financial progress; 15% ag leadership involvement; and 10% non-ag leadership.
For more information on the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Association, visit midatlanticmasterfarmer.com.
About the Author(s)
Editor, American Agriculturist
Chris Torres, editor of American Agriculturist, previously worked at Lancaster Farming, where he started in 2006 as a staff writer and later became regional editor. Torres is a seven-time winner of the Keystone Press Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Press Association, and he is a Pennsylvania State University graduate.
Torres says he wants American Agriculturist to be farmers' "go-to product, continuing the legacy and high standard (former American Agriculturist editor) John Vogel has set." Torres succeeds Vogel, who retired after 47 years with Farm Progress and its related publications.
"The news business is a challenging job," Torres says. "It makes you think outside your small box, and you have to formulate what the reader wants to see from the overall product. It's rewarding to see a nice product in the end."
Torres' family is based in Lebanon County, Pa. His wife grew up on a small farm in Berks County, Pa., where they raised corn, soybeans, feeder cattle and more. Torres and his wife are parents to three young boys.
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