Editor’s Note: Listen to Shelby Watson-Hampton talk about her fourth-generation family farm and her work as a farm ‘agvocate’ in our American Agriculturist Young Farmer Podcast.
If you’re an avid reader of American Agriculturist, you should know the name Shelby Watson-Hampton.
Every other month she writes her Generation Now column, providing a fresh perspective from the farm of someone who is young and trying to make it as a farm owner.
But you don’t know the whole story. So, we visited her on the winery she co-owns with her husband and aunt and uncle for a chat about the challenges of trying to make it as a farm owner outside the nation’s capital; the importance of being an advocate for agriculture; and helping preserve her family’s fourth-generation farm.
Watson-Hampton is also the director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission.
EVOLVING FARM: Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards is the latest evolution of Watson-Hampton’s family farm, which was purchased in 1955 by Russell and Shirley Watson as a tobacco operation.
Her family farm, Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards, includes a vineyard and tasting room. The farm was purchased in 1955 by Russell and Shirley Watson and has gone through several transitions, including as a tobacco farm, a 400-head hog operation and nursery. In 2012, the family transitioned into the vineyard and winery business.
The farm has been inducted into the Maryland Governor’s Agricultural Hall of Fame, awarded the Soil Conservation Farm of the Year Award twice and presented with the Prince George’s County Small Business of the Year award.
Watson-Hampton is a 2007 graduate of the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and was a 2015 Graduate Fellow of LEAD Maryland Class VIII. She is currently serving a two-year term on the National Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee of the American Farm Bureau Federation.