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Maryland farmers receive lifetime achievement awardMaryland farmers receive lifetime achievement award

Honorees include a WWII veteran and a longtime agriculture teacher.

November 14, 2018

1 Min Read
FARMERS HONORED: Vernon Foster and Loring “Bud” Sparks were recently presented with the Friend of Maryland Agriculture Award by the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council for their contributions to agriculture.

The Maryland Agricultural Resource Council recently presented its Friend of Maryland Agriculture awards to Vernon Foster and Loring "Bud" Sparks for their contributions to agriculture.

The awards were presented by Maryland’s Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder at MARC’s annual Family Farm Day.

Foster, 99, served as a tank platoon commander in World War II and then returned home to operate his family’s farm. He also served as supervisor of the Baltimore County Soil Conservation District for 65 years.

His innovative and advanced soil conservation practices were a model many people followed. He has received numerous soil conservation-related awards, including achieving a highest corn yield — both no-till and conventional — not just in Baltimore County, but the entire state of Maryland.

Sparks was born in Baltimore County in 1931. Following his graduation from the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture in 1952, he took a position at North Harford High School where he taught agriculture. Just a year later, his longtime friend Vernon Foster reached out and recruited him for the agricultural program at northern Baltimore County’s Hereford High School.

In his 25 years at Hereford High, Sparks not only taught agribusiness, but was also instrumental in helping develop the agricultural program into what it is today.

In 1982, Sparks joined Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit as a loan officer and remained there until 2007. As with Vernon Foster, Sparks served as supervisor for the Baltimore County Soil Conservation District for 34 years, as well as treasurer of the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts for a combined 12 years.

Source: Maryland Agricultural Resource Council

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