July 2024

Image by Remsberg, Inc.

Class XII Fellows: JT Albright; Thomas Bagamsah, PhD; Josh Bollinger; Melissa Bolyard;

Chris Brown; Shaina Custer Saturday; Megan D'Arcy; Richard Francis "Farmer Chippy;"

Sarah Harrison; DeEtte Hillman; Heather Hulsey; Jenna Jones; Stacy Kubofcik;

Chengchu "Cathy" Liu, PhD; Tyler Majchrzak; Adam Miller; Harrison Palmer; Rachel Rhodes; Greg Sandi; Matt Schnebly; Jen Wilson; Brian Wort; Logan Yearsley; and Ryan Zimmerman.

Not pictured is Tim Bishton.

Class XII Graduates!

On April 24, 2024, a sense of accomplishment and community filled the air as LEAD Maryland Class XII Fellows gathered for the graduation ceremony at Frey's Brewing Company in Mount Airy, Maryland. This special evening marked the culmination of a journey for the Fellows, who embarked on a rigorous development program aimed at shaping Maryland's agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.

Congratulations to the LEAD Maryland Class XII graduates. With your new skills and connections, you are already bringing positive changes to Maryland! Thank you for your leadership!

Join the Fun: Scoop Ice Cream at the Maryland State Fair!

Friday, September 6, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Get ready for our annual volunteer service day at the Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmers Dairy Bar for Maryland State Fair! If you haven't volunteered at the Dairy Bar before, it's a lot of fun, and it supports the largest fundraiser for the Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmers program. All profits from the Dairy Bar go to the Young Farmers program.

The LEAD Maryland Day to volunteer is Friday, September 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Each shift is 3 hours long and you may sign-up for one or more shifts. Can't make the exact shift times? Then please arrive to help when you can to support the team. Working together at the Dairy Bar is a lot of fun! Entry passes to enter the fair are provided to volunteers who register by August 27. See the website for the full fair schedule.

To volunteer, click here.


Mark S. Powell, Class I, 1999-2000

Study Tour: The Netherlands and Belgium

Meet Mark S. Powell, Chief of Agriculture and Seafood Marketing at the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). He has worked at MDA for 20 years. Earlier, he was the editor of the Delmarva Farmer and New Jersey Farmer newspapers for Easton-based American Farm Publications. Mark’s career began in journalism … the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., then media relations at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, Laurinburg, N.C., and the American University in Washington, D.C.

Mark has been serving agriculture in Maryland for most of his career and it’s been his passion since 1990.

What new things are going on in your life, business, or farming operations?

Exciting times at MDA as we work to meet the marketing needs of the state’s farmers and watermen! My daughters are out in the world now, one in college, one in a career. Amazing that so much has happened since those years in LEAD, Class 1.

How has LEAD Maryland helped shape you as a leader?

LEAD Maryland shaped me in many ways, not just as a leader. I came into the program primarily to step into my role at the Delmarva Farmer at that point. Always an introvert and a bit shy, I was being called upon to speak to large groups of farmers on policy discussions and the like. I thought that LEAD Maryland would help me get over the hump of public speaking. It did. But, it also gave me an understanding of my role in agriculture. Among the readings we did in 1998, I came across Servant Leadership. It is a theory of leadership based on the desire to serve and give to your community. It also has roots in Christianity. As a Christian, I found it compelling. I have tried since then to be a servant leader in my professional and private life.

How did your LEAD experience inspire you to serve in industry leadership positions?

Ag education seemed like an area that I could be helpful in. I had friends who were active in the Maryland Agriculture Education Foundation, so I joined a great group of people there. Steve Connelly was the executive director as we worked to launch the Maryland ag tag. Steve knew tons of people in the legislature and state agencies. I volunteered to help as we worked on the design. That was so cool! I still feel good when I see that tag that Steve and our little group developed. I hope you have yours. Mine says ‘T Heel’ in honor of my home state and my alma mater.

How did your international travel study experience impact you personally and professionally?

I traveled a lot as a kid. My dad was in the U.S. Air Force and we lived in Europe and Asia, 3 years at a base and then moving on. I had not traveled internationally since then. There is something about leaving the United States as an adult and seeing how other people experience life that changes you. To quote Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness …” And I will never forget experiencing carrot and dairy farms in Belgium and the Netherlands -- Brussels, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam -- with a group of young aggies thirsty for such an experience. Wow!


What or who is your inspiration and why?

When I was looking for recommendations for LEAD, I reached out to the Extension agent at that time in Cecil County, Ted Haas. As a journalist, I interviewed hundreds of folks in agriculture in the Mid-Atlantic. Ted was one of those people that I loved interviewing and just talking with for his insights into people and farming. I asked him one time how he came to be such a respected ag leader. He told me that farmers and rural people, in general, are not quick to accept advice or ideas. It takes time. You need to prove that you are there for them. And committed. He told me the story of a time when a zoning commission was asked to make a decision on some issue. The proposal was going nowhere until they received input from the local Extension agent, who had earned the respect of those on the commission for being truthful and part of the community. “That is leadership,” Ted said. I’ve never forgotten that.

What value does LEAD offer to Maryland and agriculture as a whole?

LEAD is providing our state with a group of connected people in agriculture who can solve problems for our community. Those people in your class never forget you. No matter if they are a legislator or top official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a farmer. They have your back.

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