Faulkner fam­ily named 2015 Charles County Farm Fam­ily of the Year

Faulkner fam­ily named 2015 Charles County Farm Fam­ily of the Year

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By SARA NEW­MAN snew­man@somd­new.com Twit­ter: @in­dy_­com­mu­nity

Ad­di­son Herbert has lived on his fam­ily’s Faulkner farm for 78 years and finds the farm­ing life­style to be a worth­while liv­ing for him­self, his chil­dren and his chil­dren’s chil­dren as the farm con­tin­ues to grow and change with the times.

“We are pro­vid­ing for so many peo­ple,” Herbert said of his fam­ily’s — in­clud­ing wife, Su­san, chil­dren Michael, Ann, Philip and Jeanne — farm­ing mis­sion. “We grow for all peo­ple. It’s a won­der­ful life­style.”

The fam­ily was re­cently nom­i­nated 2015 Charles County Farm Fam­ily of the Year and were hon­ored at the an­nual Charles County Farm Bu­reau din­ner in March. Dur­ing the awards cer­e­mony, the fam­ily re­ceived a procla­ma­tion from the Mary­land Se­nate and the Charles County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers for it’s lead­er­ship in lo­cal agri­cul­ture and a plaque from the three or­ga­ni­za­tions on the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee.

The lo­cal nom­i­nat­ing com­mit­tee con­sists of the Univer­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion (UME) County Agri­cul­ture Agent, the County Farm Bu­reau Pres­i­dent and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Soil Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict (SCD).

“We’re cer­tainly very hon­ored,” Sue said in an in­ter­view. “As both 4-H lead­ers, and we’re very ac­tive in the farm bu­reau as well, it’s re­ally nice to see that your peers think that what you’re do­ing is worth rec­og­niz­ing. That’s what re­ally meant a lot is that we were nom­i­nated by other farm­ers.”

Not only have the Herbert’s been farm­ing for gen­er­a­tions, they have also been im­mensely in­volved in 4-H, a youth devel­op­ment pro­gram ad­min­is­tered by the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Food and Agri­cul­ture of the United States De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture (USDA). Ad­di­son, a La Plata high school grad­u­ate, and Su­san, an Arch­bishop Neal School grad­u­ate, met as teenagers through 4-H. They have vol­un­teered for the or­ga­ni­za­tion for al­most 40 years, be­ing named the 2004 State 4-H Fam­ily of the Year. Their chil­dren are all 4-H All-Stars and their three grand­chil­dren—Ad­di­son, 11, Ri­ley Jo, 9, and Char­lie, 2 — are con­tin­u­ing the legacy.

“So many peo­ple now are so far re­moved from the agricul- ture life­style and are so mis­in­formed about what hap­pens on our farms day to day,” Jeanne Herbert, 25, said of her pur­pose for con­tin­u­ing her fam­ily’s farm­ing legacy. “I think it’s a sta­ple that needs to be around be­cause you have to eat… an in­dus­try that feeds us is an in­dus­try worth fight­ing for.”

The farm be­gan when Ad­di­son’s par­ents, P. Ad­di­son of Chap­tico and Sophia Bowl­ing of Al­lens Fresh, pur­chased 88 acres in 1936. Their main crop was to­bacco sold at auc­tions. They also grew corn, hay, wheat, veg­eta­bles, poul­try and dairy cows on the farm. Ad­di­son said he re­mem­bers be­gin­ning to help out on the farm when he was 10-years-old.

Sue grad­u­ated from Tow­son Univer­sity in 1969 with a teach­ing de­gree and taught for Charles County Pub­lic Schools for 32 years, re­ceiv­ing the Wal­dorf Jaycees Teacher of the Year award in 1980, and at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land for 10 years, in ad­di­tion to her work on the farm.

The cou­ple mar­ried in 1970 and re­mained ac­tive in the lo­cal agri­cul­ture com­mu­nity. Ad­di­son was named Wal­dorf Jaycees Young Farmer of the Year in 1972 and has held a po­si­tion on the board of di­rec­tors for the Charles County Farm Bu­reau for 43 years. Sue was also a mem­ber of the farm bu­reau and worked as sec­re­tary for 20 years. She con­tin­ues her ser­vice with the Farm Bu­reau’s Women’s Com­mit­tee and Farm Bu­reau Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mit­tee.

As was the story for many South­ern Mary­land farm­ers, the Herbert fam­ily took the to­bacco buy­out in 2001 and de­cided to tran­si­tion their farm into other vi­able en­ter­prises that could sus­tain fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing cat­tle, goats, sheep, vegetable pro­duc­tion, hay and grain. The fam­ily can be seen around the county sell­ing their pro­duce at lo­cal stands.

Three of the Herbert’s chil­dren have built homes and are rais­ing their chil­dren on the 110-acre farm they grew up on. Jeanne con­tin­ues to work on the farm daily, build­ing her own live­stock herd, in ad­di­tion to work­ing part-time as a vet­eri­nary tech­ni­cian and part-time 4-H pro­gram as­sis­tant.

“It’s kind of a tra­di­tion re­ally,” Jeanne said. “It’s def­i­nitely a lot of fun, it’s kind of my hobby and so it’s nice that a hobby can make me some ex­tra in­come. I just like the fact that I can do things that my fam­ily has been do­ing for so long and keep some­thing alive.”

“[The fam­ily] not only bleed green in their lead­er­ship to the youth, but are ac­tive and in­volved in all other ar­eas of lo­cal agri­cul­ture,” El­iz­a­beth So­lis-McGarry, ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant for the Univer­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion, Charles County, wrote on be­half of the ex­ten­sion’s nom­i­na­tion. “They have been in­no­va­tive in their crops and mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives, with no signs of slow­ing down. In later years, as the farm is passed down to the fourth gen­er­a­tion, the path is paved with knowl­edge and the un­der­stand­ing that the farm must con­tinue to evolve and rein­vent it­self.”

Ad­di­son and Sue said be­ing able to see a third gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren grow up on the farm is what they are “most proud of.”

“That’s kind of what it’s all about,” Sue said. “It’s just such a good life­style for them. It’s giv­ing them that chance to be out in the open, in fresh air, and if they go out­side and scream a lit­tle bit it doesn’t make much of a dif­fer­ence. It’s that life­style we’ve all tried to main­tain. Not ev­ery kid gets to ex­pe­ri­ence that.”


The Herbert fam­ily, of Faulkner, was named the 2015 Charles County Farm Fam­ily of the Year at the an­nual Charles County Farm Bu­reau din­ner in March. Pic­tured from left to right are Chris Seu­bert, area ex­ten­sion di­rec­tor for UME, Rhonda Herbert, Pete Schaecher, Ann Herbert, Char­lie Schaecher, Charles Rice of SCD, Ad­di­son IV and Ri­ley Jo Herbert, Ad­di­son Herbert Jr., Su­san Herbert, Phil (Ad­di­son III) Herbert, Se­na­tor Mac Mid­dle­ton, David Han­cock, pres­i­dent of the Charles County Farm Bu­reau, and be­low are Jeanne Herbert and Justin Wil­liams.

Char­lie Schaecher, 2, ex­plores the fam­ily farm with his grand­fa­ther, Ad­di­son Herbert. Ad­di­son and his wife, Sue, say they en­joy see­ing their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren con­tinue to be ac­tive in the agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity the pair ded­i­cated their lives to.

Sue and Ad­di­son Herbert sell pro­duce from their farm around the county at dif­fer­ent stands and mar­kets. The Herbert’s farm tran­si­tioned from to­bacco to live­stock and pro­duce dur­ing the to­bacco buy­out.

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