A chance to talk about sheep, not pol­i­tics

Har­ford ex­ec­u­tive Glass­man loves show­ing his an­i­mals at state fair

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By David An­der­son

Har­ford County Ex­ec­u­tive Barry Glass­man was pre­par­ing Thurs­day to spend some qual­ity time with four-legged con­stituents out­side his home county — tak­ing a break from pol­i­tics to show seven lambs at the Mary­land State Fair in Ti­mo­nium.

Glass­man, 54, who raises sheep at his Dar­ling­ton farm, will show his Katahdin hair sheep Sun­day at the fair, and on Thurs­day he set­tled in for a few days in Ti­mo­nium. Like other ex­hibitors, he’ll stay with his sheep through Mon­day.

“I don’t have to talk pol­i­tics, I just talk sheep, and it’s a nice respite for me,” Glass­man said. “I think that’s why I’ve en­joyed it so much over the years. I can just be me.”

Glass­man, a Repub­li­can who was elected county ex­ec­u­tive in 2014, has been show­ing sheep at the state fair for about 25 years. He grew up in Har­ford and has been around sheep since he was a child. His fa­ther, Charles, still lives in the com­mu­nity of Level, and has a flock of 10 to 15 sheep.

“It’s just a hobby I’ve had for a long time,” said Glass­man, who is re­tired from BGE and has been an elected of­fi­cial since he joined the Har­ford County Coun­cil in 1990.

In his run for county ex­ec­u­tive, he even used the nick­name “Baaa ... rry” Glass­man in cam­paign signs — a nick­name he got from his fel­low leg­is­la­tors when he served in the Mary­land House of Del­e­gates and Se­nate.

“It stuck with me through all 16 years in the leg­is­la­ture,” Glass­man said.

He started bring­ing sheep to the fair in the early 1990s when his son, Jor­dan, now 23, was in­volved in 4-H. The ex­ec­u­tive’s wife, Debi, also helps care for the sheep.

His son aged out of 4-H af­ter high school, but Glass­man still re­turns to the fair ev­ery year.

He said the fair­grounds are a place he can re­lax, and maybe mar­ket Har­ford County to a statewide au­di­ence — he brings along mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als de­signed “to get peo­ple not only in­ter­ested in agri­cul­ture, but Har­ford County.”

Three male and four fe­male sheep joined Glass­man in Ti­mo­nium, in­clud­ing Bl­iz­zard, named be­cause she was born dur­ing Jan­uary’s storm, when more than 30 inches of snow fell on Har­ford County.

Mike Do­ran, a White­ford farmer and pres­i­dent of the Har­ford County Farm Bureau, praised Glass­man’s will­ing­ness to take his per­sonal time to pro­mote agri­cul­ture and the live­stock in­dus­try.

“We’re cer­tainly happy to see it,” said Do­ran, who also shows at the state fair. “I think it’s great, and his in­ter­est in the sheep and agri­cul­ture as a whole, it says a lot for the county and what he stands for.”

Glass­man’s to­tal flock is about 40 head, but will dou­ble to about 80 in Fe­bru­ary and March, when lambs are born.

He de­scribed the Katahdin hair sheep as fairly “low-main­te­nance.” Raised for their meat, they do not have wool, but short, wiry hair. They do not need to be shorn, just brushed. Glass­man de­scribed their meat as mild, say­ing he’s sold it to lo­cal restau­rants such as Lau­r­rapin Grille in Havre de Grace and Sunny Day Cafe in Bel Air.

They’re “per­fect for a guy that’s run­ning a county,” he said. “I don’t have to do a lot of ex­tra work.”

MATT BUT­TON/BALTIMORE SUN ME­DIA GROUP

Har­ford County Ex­ec­u­tive Barry Glass­man leads one of the seven Katahdin hair sheep he will be show­ing this week­end at the Mary­land State Fair to the trailer on Thurs­day. Glass­man, who is 54, has been show­ing sheep at the state fair for about 25 years.

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