Calvert Farm Bureau Welcomes New Board Members

New officers and board members were elected at the December meeting of the Calvert County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Susie Hance Wells retired as president, as did long time board members and former Calvert County Farm Bureau Presidents Tommy Briscoe and Walt Wells. The board of directors elected a new president, Jason Leavitt of Wilson Dowell Farms in Owings, new vice president, Jamie Tiralla of Monnett Farms in Prince Frederick, and new secretary, Cathy Cosgrove of Horsmon Farms in St. Leonard. Two new board members are Donnie Bowen, of Bowens Farm in Prince Frederick, and Tom Hance, Jr., a legislative affairs specialist in Washington D.C. for various commodity groups.

Calvert County Farm Bureau Wins Silver Bowl Award

The Calvert County Farm Bureau was honored with a Silver Bowl Award at the Maryland Farm Bureau 101st Annual Banquet on Monday, December 5, 2016.

Outgoing president, Susie Hance Wells accepted the award in recognition of the county’s efforts in organizing the Southern Maryland Regional Leadership Workshop. Mrs. Hance Wells was instrumental in organizing and planning the event which included Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s Counties.

More than 50 young farmers attended the event, held at the College of Southern Maryland in Prince Frederick. The day’s agenda included several speakers presenting on leadership and business development topics. The keynote speaker, Randy Dwyer from the American Farm Bureau Federation, presented on how to be effective with legislators.

Calvert Farms Featured at Governor’s Buy Local Picnic

Local chef Gwyn Novak of No Thyme to Cook in Prince Frederick will be featured at the 2016 Maryland Governor’s Buy Local Picnic in July. Her recipe was one of 18 selected and features peaches from Swann Farms of Owings.


Grilled Peach & Pecan Salad with Orange-Citrus Vinaigrette, submitted by Gwyn Novak of No Thyme to Cook in Calvert County with producer Bernie Fowler, Jr. of Farming 4 Hunger in Charles County for lettuce and Joe-Sam Swann, Swann Farms in Calvert County for peaches.

Read the full press release.

Miss Calvert County Farm Bureau 2016

Becky Jones Named 2015 Miss Calvert County Farm Bureau

Wanted: Miss Calvert County Farm Bureau Applicants

Calvert County Farm Bureau is looking for young women between the ages of 16 and 18 who are, or whose parents are, Maryland Farm Bureau members to represent them as Miss Calvert County Farm Bureau in 2016 – 2017.

If you are interested and eligible, please download the application and return it to Susan Allen at or to Calvert County Farm Bureau, 3695 Hallowing Point Road, Suite 4, Prince Frederick, Maryland 20678 by May 1, 2016.

***Please note that part of the eligibility is your participation in the Calvert County Farm Bureau Picnic on May 7 at Horsmon Farm AND the Miss Maryland Agriculture Orientation Program in Timonium August 8 – 10, 2016 AND the full 2 days of competition in Timonium at the end of August.

Scholarship & Expense Packages

The Miss Calvert County Farm Bureau winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Calvert County Farm Bureau. In addition, participants will compete at the state level for additional scholarships. Scholarship and expense packages for the 2016 Miss Maryland Agriculture program are:

Winner $13,000

  • $8000 scholarship from the Maryland State Fair
  • $1000 scholarship from Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee
  • $1000 scholarship from Maryland Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee
  • $3000 to reimburse expenses related to serving as Miss Maryland Agriculture during the year of tenure provide by the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board

1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Runner Up $1500 each

  • $1000 scholarship from Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee
  • $500 scholarship from Maryland Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee

18 Contestants $300 each

  • $300 to reimburse expenses related outreach and education while serving as Miss County Farm Bureau after competing in the state contest is provided by the Maryland Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee.

Eligibility Criteria for the Miss Maryland Agriculture Program:

  1. Contestants must be young women between the ages of 16 and 19 who may not turn 20 by the date of the state contest at the end of August.
  2. Contestants must be single, never married, not engaged, not pregnant nor already have children.
  3. Contestants must not have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.
  4. Contestants and/or their parents or guardians must be Maryland Farm Bureau members who are considered to be “in good standing” based on timely payment of membership dues in the county Farm Bureau that they represent. Each contestant under the age of 18 must have written consent from a parent or guardian to enter the contest.
  5. Each contestant must be selected and certified by a County Farm Bureau to be the Miss County Farm Bureau for the year of the state contest.
  6. Contestants are welcome to compete in the state contest more than once if they have not previously been selected as Miss Maryland Agriculture or the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th Runner Up. (Please also refer to individual county Farm Bureau policy to see if contestants are eligible under those rules to compete more than one time.)
  7. All contestants must participate in the Miss Maryland Agriculture Orientation Program in Timonium August 8-10, 2016. The 3-day orientation program will allow contestants to gain knowledge, experience and Farm Bureau expertise that will assist in their preparations to compete for the title of Miss Maryland Agriculture.
  8. All contestants must participate in the full 2 days of competition in Timonium at the end of August.

Swann Family Inducted into Ag Hall of Fame

Ag Hall of Fame Video by Edwin Remsberg

Swann Farms Ag Hall of Fame

Calvert Farm Family Inducted Into Md. Ag Hall of Fame

by: Jamie Clark Tiralla for Lancaster Farming (edited for content for CCFB Blog)

GLEN BURNIE, Md. — The Swann family of Calvert County became the 47th recipient of Maryland’s highest agriculture honor as they were inducted into the Governor’s Agricultural Hall of Fame at the annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture event.

J. Allen Swann, with wife Patricia by his side, received the award on behalf of the Swann family. He was joined by numerous family members including his nephew Jody Swann and son Joe-Sam Swann, who are also his business partners.

J. Allen Swann said he is proud to work alongside his nephew and son, and see his family grow up in the same place he did.

“When Secretary Bartenfelder called, it brought tears to this old man’s eyes,” Swann said. “We are truly honored. There’s nothing better in this world than being able to do what you really want to do, where you want to do it and with who you want to do it with.”

Swann Farms spans approximately 360 acres along the shores of the Patuxent River in northern Calvert County. Six generations ago, the farm’s primary crop was tobacco. Since the Maryland tobacco buyout, the Swanns have transitioned into grain and produce.

Today, they have about 200 acres in production, principally raising sweet corn, peaches and melons for the wholesale market. They also have a pick-your-own strawberry operation.

Last year, the Swanns planted an acre of asparagus and added 4 acres of blueberries and an acre of blackberries and raspberries to the pick-your-own operation.

“Growing up, the river was really important,” Swann said. As a result, conservation practices are a critical aspect of the family farm operation. Swann Farms has been quick to embrace numerous environmental best management practices. They plant cover crops, practice minimal-till crop production and have 10 acres devoted to wetlands mitigation.

Also read about the Swann Family in this week’s Delmarva Farmer

Calvert County Farm Bureau Earns Honors at Farm Bureau Convention

Good news for Calvert County Farm Bureau from the Maryland Farm Bureau Centennial Convention!

Calvert Brings Home President’s Award for Leadership Development

CCFB  Leadership Development Award Presentation

In recognition of efforts in the area of Leadership Development, the Calvert County Farm Bureau received a President’s Award at the Maryland Farm Bureau Centennial Convention. The CCFB had the strongest score for Leadership Development in the membership category of fewer than 900 members. The award was accepted by Susie Hance-Wells at the Banquet on Monday, December 7 and was presented by Maryland Farm Bureau President, Chuck Fry.

CCFB Leadership Development Award

In 2015, the Calvert County Farm Bureau devoted a significant effort towards leadership development including:

  • The Calvert County Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee
  • The Miss Calvert County Farm Bureau Program
  • The Calvert County Farm Bureau Scholarship Program
  • Contributions to the LEAD Maryland Program

In 2016, CCFB, along with the four other Southern Maryland Farm Bureaus will be hosting a one-day Young Farmer Leadership Development Conference. The event will be held on March 31 at the College of Southern Maryland in Prince Frederick. The day will feature speakers and workshops on how to be a strong board member and how to build a successful farm business. Registration details will follow soon.

Calvert County Young Farmers Earn Top Honors

Two members of the Calvert County Young Farmers achieved top honors during the Maryland Farm Bureau Centennial Convention in Ocean City in December.

Jamie Tiralla MFB 2015 Excellence in Agriculture WinnerJamie Tiralla was the winner of the Maryland Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture competition. The Excellence in Agriculture competition is for individuals and couples who do not earn their primary income from the farming operation. Competitors submit a written application and present a powerpoint presentation on their service and contributions to agriculture and the community. Jamie will compete at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Orlando this January.


Charlie Cox MFB Discussion Meet 2015

Charlie Cox MFB Discussion Meet Final FourCharlie Cox placed in the final four for the Maryland Farm Bureau Discussion Meet. The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting and is designed to produce active discussion from each participant. Competitors are evaluated on their exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic.

The event builds discussion skills and an understanding for the importance of agricultural issues and reaching a consensus to solve problems. Participants are not there to persuade their fellow young farmers, but rather assist one another in a productive discussion. Charlie will also travel to the AFBF Convention in Orlando this January.

In addition, Jamie Tiralla was named the Chair of the Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee. She will serve a one-year term on the board of directors for 2016.

University of Maryland Extension Winter 2015 – 2016 Training Meetings

Winter Training Meetings – Calvert County Extension

Please call the contact to register for these meetings as meetings may need to be cancelled if there is insufficient interest.

Private Applicator Pesticide Certification Training Exam Preparation

Nov. 17, 2015 • 6-9 pm
Calvert Extension Conference Room
Contact Herb Reed: (410) 535-3662

This meeting is for individuals wishing to prepare to take the exam on December 15th to become certified as a Private Pesticide Applicator. The December 15th exam is not for individuals needing Commercial Certification. Check with MDA if you are not sure what kind of certification you need.

Private Applicator Pesticide Recertification Training

Nov. 19, 2015 • 7-9 pm
Calvert Extension Conference Room
Contact Herb Reed: (410) 535-3662

This meeting is for current Private Pesticide Applicators who need to renew their certifications.

So. Maryland Crops Dinner Pesticide Recertification & Nutrient Management Voucher Training

Dec. 1, 2015 • 4-8:30 pm
Baden Fire Hall, Brandywine
Contact: Ben Beale (301) 475-4484

This meeting will provide both Private Applicator Recertification and Nutrient Voucher Certification or Recertification.

Private Applicator Pesticide Certification Exam

Dec. 12, 2015 • 7-9 pm
Calvert Extension Conference Room
Contact Herb Reed: (410) 535-3662

Nutrient Management Voucher Training

Dec. 17, 2015 • 7-9 pm
Calvert Extension Conference Room
Contact Herb Reed: (410) 535-3662

This meeting is for people needing a nutrient management voucher (new OR renewal).

Southern Maryland Forage Conference Pesticide Recertification & Nutrient Voucher Training

Jan. 13, 2016 • 8:30 am – 4 pm
Baden Fire Hall, Brandywine
Contact: Ben Beale (301) 475-4484

This meeting will provide both Private Applicator Recertification and Nutrient Voucher Certification or Recertification.

Ag News: HPAI Virus – Avian Influenza

The following is important news and updates about Avian Influenza from the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

From the Maryland Department of Agriculture:
Background: Avian influenza is a viral disease that can affect bird species throughout the world. The disease can vary from mild to severe, depending on the virus strain involved. The most severe strain is called highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). High path flu is characterized by high, fast moving fatality rates (more than 75%) within infected flocks. Since December 2014, USDA has confirmed many cases of HPAI in both commercial and backyard flocks. There are currently no known or reported cases of High Path Avian Influenza in Maryland. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections to be low. This strain is spread by wild migratory birds but may also have other sources as well. Flock owners are urged to practice enhanced biosecurity to protect their flocks. If you have more than one sick bird or if several have died suddenly, contact MDA Animal Health at: 410-841-5810. 

“This strain of avian influenza could very well bring economic disaster to our largest agricultural sector if we don’t take steps to protect the birds now. We have every reason to believe that HPAI will enter Maryland this fall, and we are making every effort to keep it out of our commercial chicken houses and backyard flocks. I strongly encourage all flock owners and managers to take this disease as seriously as they have ever taken anything and to practice enhanced biosecurity at all times.” — Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder

When HPAI is confirmed, the state works with USDA and other federal partners to execute a response plan. Existing USDA avian influenza response plans follow five basic steps:

  1. Quarantine: Restrict movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area;
  2. Eradicate: Humanely euthanize the affected flock(s);
  3. Monitor region: Test wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area;
  4. Disinfect: Kill the virus in the affected flock locations; and
  5. Test: Confirm that the poultry farm is AI virus-free. USDA also is working with its partners to actively look and test for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.

Poultry Exhibitions Update: To do everything possible to mitigate the risk of HPAI from infecting Maryland poultry flocks, MDA will prohibit poultry exhibitions at all fairs and show after Aug. 25, 2015. MDA has also issued an order requiring all hatching eggs and poultry entering from out of state to be tested within 10 days or come from certified clean sources. This quarantine order will remain in effect until at least June 30, 2016. Any questions, please call the MDA Animal Health Program at 410-841-5810.

USDA Website: Update on Avian Influenza Findings

From the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The key is biosecurity at the farm and poultry house level to prevent access by rodents and mammals like raccoons, as well as migratory birds. We have advised DNR wildlife staff to avoid visiting poultry farms on and off duty and to adhere to basic biosecurity requirements.
Information below allows farmers to address the nesting of Canada geese on their farms: 
Resident Canada Goose Depredation Assistance Available to Maryland Landowners
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services are coordinating to offer Maryland property owners and farmers the necessary tools to manage problems caused by Resident Canada geese.

Under the Nest and Egg Depredation Order, private landowners and public land managers may now destroy Resident Canada goose nests and eggs on property under their jurisdiction between March 1 and June 30 if necessary to resolve or prevent injury to people, property, agricultural crops, or other interests. Before any goose nests or eggs may be destroyed, landowners must go on-line to register with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Landowners must register employees or agents that may act on their behalf. Registration is valid for one nesting season and must be renewed each year before nests and eggs may be destroyed. There is no fee for registration. No State permit is required to destroy nests or eggs in Maryland.

The Agricultural Depredation Order allows agricultural producers including landowners, operators, and tenants actively engaged in commercial agriculture to use certain lethal methods to control Resident Canada geese on lands that they personally control and where geese are damaging agricultural crops.

State authorization is required to conduct this control. A federal permit is not required.

Goose nests and eggs may only be destroyed between March 1 and June 30, and geese may only be taken between May 1 and August 31. All management actions must occur on the premises of the depredation area. Geese may not be taken using hunting methods such as decoys and calls.

Agricultural producers can apply for a free State permit, in person or by telephone at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, 1568 Whitehall Road, Annapolis, MD 21409, Tel. 1-877-463-6497.

Past efforts have shown Canada goose depredation control is most effective when a combination of techniques are used in concert: hunting seasons (special early and regular Resident Canada goose seasons and liberal bag limits), nest and egg destruction, non-lethal treatment methods like hazing with propane cannons, pyrotechnics and lethal alternatives.

For additional information about Resident Canada geese and other Maryland waterfowl visit the DNR web site at

Calvert Farms Featured on Governor’s Buy Local Cookout Menu

The follow article was published in the Calvert County Recorder on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. By Sarah Fleischman, Staff Writer

Calvert farmers supply ingredients for governor’s Buy Local Cookout

Recipe uses meat from Monnett Farms, produce from Swann Farms

Products from two Calvert County farms will be featured in the governor’s eighth annual Buy Local Cookout on Thursday, an event during Buy Local Week that includes recipes made by Maryland chefs with Maryland ingredients.

The governor announced 15 recipes to be featured, one of which includes the products from two Calvert farms. The recipe for grilled London broil with corn, onion and pepper relish was submitted by Michael Archibald from Herrington on the Bay Catering in Anne Arundel County.

The dish features flank steak from Monnett Farms in Prince Frederick and produce from Swann Farms in Owings.

Benson Tiralla of Monnett Farms said he supplied about 20 pounds of beef for the cookout. Although he said he has attended the event before, this is the first time the farm has supplied food for the cookout.

“They’re good for the public and good for local awareness that there are local products down here,” Tiralla said of the Buy Local Cookouts.

As a farmer, Tiralla said attending the cookouts provides him with the opportunity to meet and network with other farmers, chefs and consumers.

Joe Swann of Swann Farms said he has collaborated with Herrington on the Bay Catering for the last four years and, each year, has been featured in the event.

“It’s great food. It’s fantastic. … It’s a casual event with a lot of noteworthy people,” Swann said.

“The Buy Local Cookout is a great opportunity to showcase the many businesses that support our farmers through buying local — from grocery store chains, to distributors, restaurants and institutions,” said Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in a press release. “Buying local gives consumers fresher, more nutritious and better-tasting food, and it helps to keep Maryland’s agricultural industry strong, diverse and sustainable. I thank all of the talented chefs who submitted recipes this year.”

The recipes were selected out of 37 submissions. All recipe submissions will be published in the 2015 Buy Local Cookout Recipes, which will be available online next month, according to the release. For more information on Buy Local Week and the Buy Local Challenge, go to