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Governor Martin O'Malley Highlights Agriculture, Volunteerism at 129th Maryland State Fair

Press Release

Location: Timonium, MD

Governor Martin O'Malley today addressed state agricultural and volunteerism leaders in a visit to the 129th Maryland State Fair in Timonium. The combined Governor's Volunteer and Agriculture Day luncheon celebrated farming and volunteerism as the foundations of our State and the keys to a sustainable and civil future for all Marylanders.

"There is a strong connectivity between our goals for agriculture, civil service, and the more sustainable future that all of us prefer for our State." said Governor O'Malley. "Throughout the great Revolutionary history of our State, we have derived our strength here in Maryland from our shared sense that tomorrow can be better than today, and that each of us share a personal responsibility to help make it so. The awards presented today reflect that same spirit of shared responsibility and commitment to the future of our great State."

Agriculture Day, traditionally held on the Thursday in the middle of the 11-day run of the Fair, highlights the strong agricultural traditions that make Maryland the strong state that it is today and that carry us forward to the future. It is celebrated with a luncheon gathering of agricultural leadership from around the state and a host of special, agriculture-related activities. Farming provides a healthy, local food supply, preserves beautiful, productive farmland, and strengthens rural economies for the benefit of all Marylanders.

During the luncheon, Governor O'Malley presented the 2010 Smart Green and Growing Soil Conservation District of the Year Award to the Cecil Soil Conservation District and the Smart Green and Growing Soil Conservation Cooperator of the Year to W. Frank "Barney" Barnes, a Kent County farmer. The awards recognize superior level of service to the community, agricultural industry and dedication to soil and water conservation activities.

During today's recognition luncheon Governor O'Malley welcomed 19-year-old, Lauren Jackson of Dunkirk, named Miss Maryland Agriculture 2010 on August 27 at the Maryland State Fair. Ms. Jackson grew up on Cedar Hill Farm, a crop farm that has been family-owned for nearly six decades in Calvert County. She found and received approval of a location for a summer farmers' market in her community to promote local agriculture and to test run a produce co-op. Her ultimate goal is to move back and help preserve her family farm for future generations.

Traditionally, Governor's Volunteer Appreciation Day is held on the first Sunday of the State Fair. The Governor's Office on Services and Volunteerism hosted Governor's Volunteer Appreciation Day 2010 at the fair on August 29. A tent was set up holding 10 state agencies and community exhibitors. Volunteers from across the state were invited to spend a day at the State Fair, compliments of the Governor. Over 41,000 requests for Governor's Volunteer Appreciation Day discount tickets were filled. Each coupon allowed a group of five people admission to the State Fair at a discounted rate, including discounts on the price of rides and the new State Fair Coupon Book.

Governor O'Malley also presented a proclamation proclaiming Baltimore Navy Week (August 28 -- Sept. 6, 2010) to Rear Admiral Scott Weikert, Deputy Commander, First Naval Construction Division, and a Baltimore native. Baltimore was chosen as one of 20 host cities nationwide for Navy Week 2010, giving area residents an opportunity to meet Navy sailors and learn about the Navy's critical mission and its broad-ranging capabilities.

He also recognized John Porcari, former Maryland Transportation Secretary and current U.S. Dep. Secretary of Transportation. Following the luncheon, the Governor toured the fairgrounds, visiting the Exhibition Hall, Farm and Garden Building and the Maryland State Fair Museum and Natural Resources exhibits. Special activities included a watermelon seed spitting contest, slime lab, honey extraction demonstration, Master Gardener and Flower Day as well as traditional cattle and horse show, and a home arts show.

2010 Smart Green and Growing Awards

Outstanding Soil Conservation District of the Year -- Cecil Soil Conservation District

* Cecil's Soil Conservation District was honored for their superior level of service to the community it supports and the agricultural industry through education, providing services and maintaining relationships with state legislators. The Cecil Soil Conservation District (SCD) strives very hard to achieve great goals while providing outstanding service to a vast array of customers from farmers, consultants, to our youth. The commitment of the Cecil SCD staff and cooperators to surpass many hurdles and achieve an extensive list of diversified conservation practices installed, in addition to an amazing education programs, displays the Cecil SCD's outstanding achievements. The District works diligently to research their records to populate the new MDA Conservation Tracker System in conjunction with more accurate Bay Stat Reporting and maintains working relationships with their state legislators.

Outstanding Cooperator of the Year -- W. Frank "Barney" Barnes, Jr. (Kent County)

* W. Frank (Barney) Barnes, Jr., a Kent County farmer, was honored for his dedication to and participation in soil and water conservation activities on his farm. Mr. Barnes, a third generation farmer, tills 200 acres of prime farmland, maintains approximately 9,600 feet of shoreline along the headwaters of Fairlee Creek and produces grain and poultry. In 1995, Mr. Barnes signed on with Perdue Farms and now with the help of his sons Craig and Brian, operates four poultry houses and turns out 609,000 chickens a year. He participates in Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program, cost share programs and has a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan to insure the safe utilization and disbursement of the chicken manure from his poultry operation.

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