Maryland Agriculture Council News & Updates

2024 Maryland Agriculture Council Board
June 11, 2024

Maryland Agriculture Council Leadership Elected

Faith Elliott Rossing of Henderson was elected president of the Maryland Agriculture Council Board of Directors during its April 16th board meeting. Having served as vice president during the past year, she replaces outgoing leader, Matt Teffeau of Annapolis.

Rossing joined the Council board in 2003 and served as president in 2006-07. She held the role of secretary from 2010-17, resigning for a few years before rejoining the board in 2020. In addition to her leadership roles, she served as chair of Grant Committee for several years.

“During my 18-year year tenure on the Maryland Agriculture Council Board, I have witnessed multiple changes in political leadership, agricultural leadership in key political appointments and intense changes in agricultural legislation and regulations,” Rossing said.

“With each change, I have also witnessed the resiliency and dedication of the agricultural community to protect the industry and their way of life and livelihood with a respect and tenacity bar none,” she said.

While other lobbying organizations approach the industry challenges differently, the Maryland Agriculture Council has stayed with course, building relationships with legislators and hosting the annual Maryland Taste of Agriculture event – designed to bring the agricultural and legislative communities together. Through conversation and sharing the local bounty – the two collide.
Faith Elliott Rossing

President, Maryland Agriculture Council, Inc.

Rossing said Council leaders have changed the format, the venue and the menu over the years to stay relevant but remain “dedicated to the mission of providing delicious local agricultural products and a safe space to continue difficult conversations.”

“It has been my honor to continue to serve such a dedicated organization,” Rossing shared.

Dr. Faith Elliott Rossing lives on her great-grandparents’ farm in Queen Anne’s County. Currently retired from 23 years with Queen Anne’s County Government, she remains actively involved in 4-H as a club advisor, serves as the treasurer for the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park Board and loves spending time with family and friends.

Robert C. “Robbie” Miller of Lincoln University, PA, was elected vice president of the organization and Kayla Griffith of Lothian will continue to fill the role of secretary. Henry Brandt of Centreville was re-elected as treasurer.

The newly elected board members were Tyler Majchrzak of Hartley, DE, Kevin Donnelly of Smithsburg, Rob Cooper of Alexandria, VA, and Jenell McHenry of Kennedyville. Re-elected board members, serving a two-year term, were, Doug Lechlider of Laytonsville, C. John Sullivan III of Fallston, Crystal Pickett of Mt. Airy, Karen Engel of Keymar, George Grillon of Taneytown, Robert Black of Thurmont, Vanessa Finney of Brooklandville, Scott Youse of Ridgely, Zach Evans of Salisbury, Jennifer Cross of Brandywine and Rossing.

The Council is best known for organizing the annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture on the first Thursday of February. The premier gala brings together agricultural leaders with state and national legislators to promote agriculture and educate lawmakers about its importance to the state’s economy and its people.

For more information on the Maryland Agriculture Council, go to www.mdagcouncil.com or contact Executive Director Susan Summers at 240-446-3601.

February 5, 2024

54th Taste of Maryland Agriculture Maryland Agriculture Council welcomes Governor, record crowd

The Maryland Agriculture Council, Inc., welcomed Governor Wes Moore, a strong contingent of state lawmakers, along with a record number of attendees to the 54th Taste of Maryland Agriculture on Thursday, February 1, at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland in Hanover.

Over 800 agricultural leaders shared their farming stories and concerns with lawmakers during the evening’s networking format, while enjoying a bounty of Maryland agricultural products.

During the evening’s program, President Matt Teffeau shared his appreciation for working on a farm in his youth.

Maryland agriculture helped me develop a great work ethic and pay my way through college. This upbringing led me to be an advocate in various roles over the last 15 years.”
Matt Teffeau

President, Maryland Agriculture Council, Inc.

In fulfilling the Council’s mission to promote Maryland Agriculture and educate the public on its importance, the board awarded over $12,000 in agricultural education grants. Eleven outstanding grassroots programs were honored, including:

Maryland 4-H Foundation, Inc.- $2,500
Funds will cover program delivery of “Growing a Prepared and Sustainable Workforce through the 4-H Internships.” It is the intention of this project to address the local, state, and national need for a prepared and sustainable workforce. Youth will develop career awareness and work with a career mentor, gaining real-life experience.

Chestertown Christian Academy – $1,500
Grant will fund a chicken coop project to provide hands-on learning, allowing students to understand the importance of sustainable food production, the life cycle of chickens, and the roll of poultry in Maryland. Students will care for the chickens and learn about waste management and composting.

Prince George’s County Farm Bureau, Inc. – $1,250
The grant will support the organization’s Farm & Family Day, an agriculturally centered free event with educational activities, vendors, farm machinery, petting zoo and more. The event attracts non-agricultural community members who are less familiar with farming and the agricultural industry.

Hillcrest Heights Elementary School – $1,000
Due to the school’s location in a food desert, funds will be used to expand a garden aimed at promoting the significance of cultivating and consuming healthy foods among students, staff, and the community. The outdoor classroom facilitates hands-on learning and will include sensory and pollinator gardens.

University of Maryland – $1,000
The Department of Animal and Avian Sciences will raise awareness for animal production agriculture in Maryland through a project creating a self-guided walking tour of the ANSC Campus Farm at the University of Maryland.

University of Maryland Extension Frederick 4-H Program – $999
This grant will help a Title 1 school to participate in an on-farm agricultural education program. The program provides third and fourth graders with an opportunity for hands-on agricultural experiences, learning about grain production, utilization and the importance of grain products through experiential learning stations in the areas of grain science, grain nutrition, grains and animals, and grains around the world.

Institute of Applied Agriculture – University of Maryland, College Park – $959
The grant will be used to procure an additional drone for a new course that has been met with overwhelming success and enrollment. The class covers GPS and Drone Applications in surveying which is increasingly used in the agricultural arena.

University of Maryland Extension – $900
Funds will be used for an Ag Olympics event, to purchase educational demonstration materials and design an agricultural passport activity for urban and suburban families attending.

Hereford AgriScience & FFA – $895
Funds will be used to procure equipment to establish the dog grooming program at Hereford High School, operated by the veterinary science students, senior capstone students, and FFA members.

Baltimore County 4-H – $800
This grant will fund agri-science workshops for 4-H’ers and non-4-H’ers
in Baltimore and surrounding counties, promoting participation in agricultural projects in 4-H and encouraging youth to explore careers in Maryland Agriculture after high school.

Charlestown Elementary School – $500
Grant funds will help purchase resources to be used in the classroom during Ag Day, an event to educate students on the meaning of agriculture and how it affects their daily lives.

Governor Moore and Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Atticks inducted the Willard Family of Montgomery County into the prestigious Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame to conclude the program.

For more information on the Maryland Agriculture Council, go to www.mdadcouncil.com or contact Executive Director Susan Summers at 240-446-3601.

December 4, 2023

54th Taste of Maryland Agriculture set for February 1, 2024

Maryland’s agricultural industry leaders will enjoy networking, food and conversation with state and national legislators at the 54th annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture gala on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland at Arundel Mills in Hanover, MD.

Sponsored by the Maryland Agriculture Council Inc., more than 800 are expected to attend the premier event where agriculture education grants will be awarded, and Governor Wes Moore is expected to introduce the state’s Agricultural Hall of Fame honoree.

“Our mission for this event is to promote our vital and diverse agricultural industry and educate lawmakers about its importance to every citizen in Maryland,” said Council President Matt Teffeau.

As farmers, we are proud to produce food, fiber and fuel. We are proud to create jobs. We are proud to safely sustain and preserve and protect our land and natural resources. But it takes cooperation and mutual understanding and respect with our elected officials to keep us viable and strong.
Matt Teffeau

President, Maryland Agriculture Council, Inc.

Gala attendees will enjoy a smorgasbord of Maryland-produced foods and beverages and will learn and see firsthand the financial commitment that the Council has made to agriculture education programs across the state. Several initiatives will be recognized with the awarding of over $12,000 in grants to individuals and organizations.

The Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame award will be presented to a farm family that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to agriculture and the community in which they live and work.

Tickets for the event are $100 person if ordered before January 12; individual ticket prices are $130 after January 12 . Tickets can be purchased online or download a registration form here.

For ticket information, reservations or more information, contact Executive Director Susan Summers at 240-446-3601 or ssummers@comcast.net.

July 18, 2023

Applications open for Maryland Agriculture Council Educational Grants

The Maryland Agriculture Council began awarding educational grants to organizations in 2001, for the purpose of expanding its mission to promote Maryland agriculture. Hundreds of applications have been received through the years with creative and unique programs being executed on a local level. Applications are due September 30, 2023.

“We are always excited to recognize and reward the tremendous agriculture education programs that are taking place in Maryland,” said Chuck Schuster, MAC Grants Chairperson. “This program fulfills our mission and highlights the importance of these grassroots efforts.”

Download the grant program guidelines and application or requested the package from Chuck Schuster at cfs@umd.edu. Grant winners will be announced during the Taste of Maryland Agriculture on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland at Arundel Mills in Hanover, MD.

The mission of the Maryland Agriculture Council, Inc., is to promote Maryland Agriculture and to educate the public on its importance. The Council is committed to ensuring and promoting a viable agriculture industry in Maryland under the leadership of a board of directors representing the broad scope of agriculture. Strategies for reaching those goals are through legislative communication (Taste of MD Agriculture & legislative visits), the grant program, marketing, and promotion.

For more information on the Maryland Agriculture Council, contact Susan G. Summers at ssummers@comcast.net or go to www.mdagcouncil.com.

Matt Teffeau, President Maryland Agriculture Council
Matt Teffeau, Maryland Agriculture Council Board of Directors President
April 14, 2023

Maryland Agriculture Council Leadership Elected

Matt Teffeau of Annapolis was elected president of the Maryland Agriculture Council Board of Directors during its April 11th board meeting. Having served as vice president during the past year, he replaces outgoing leader, Karen Engel of Keymar.

Teffeau has been a member of the Council’s board since 2019, serving on numerous committees and playing an integral part in the group’s annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture. He is the manager of Government Affairs and Economic Development at Choptank Electric Cooperative, a not-for-profit, member-owned electric distribution co-op located on the Eastern Shore.

“I am very excited to continue the Maryland Agriculture Council’s mission of bringing our public officials and agriculture community together in a way of celebration and showcasing the valuable work our farmers do every day,” Teffeau said. “We will continue to build off the success of this year’s Taste of Maryland Agriculture.”

A native of Preston, Teffeau graduated from Salisbury University in 2010 before taking his first job as a legislative assistant for Congressman Andy Harris, handling agricultural and natural resource issues. He later joined the Maryland Farm Bureau as assistant director of government relations, advocating for Maryland farmers in Annapolis before joining the Maryland Department of Agriculture under the Hogan Administration.

Teffeau is a 2017 graduate of LEAD Maryland, a two-year leadership development program that fosters emerging agriculture and natural resource advocates. In 2020, The Daily Record included Teffeau on its 2020 VIP List, recognizing young state leaders for outstanding professional accomplishments, civic involvement, and commitment to inspiring change.

“Working on my friend’s family farm in Caroline County helped pay my way through college and gave me valuable life lessons,” he said. “Having a father who dedicated his life’s work to horticulture through University of Maryland Extension also gave me a unique perspective into our agricultural community. I’m grateful for all of my agricultural experiences.”

Faith Elliott Rossing of Henderson was elected vice president of the organization and Kayla Griffith of Lothian will fill the role of secretary. Henry Brandt of Centreville was re-elected as treasurer.

The newly elected board members were Belinda Burrier of Union Bridge, Terrie Shank of Hagerstown and Bryan Butler of Westminster. Re-elected board members, serving a two-year term, were, Emily Wilson of Harwood, Ray Greenstreet of Tracy’s Landing, Donna Landis-Smith of Marydel, Putt Willett of Laytonsville, Chuck Schuster of Glenwood, Robert C. Miller of Lincoln University, PA, David Gordon of Jefferson, Gail Yeiser of Arnold, Kim Smith of Arlington, VA, Mike Harrison Jr. of Woodbine, Teffeau, Brandt and Griffith.

The Council is best known for organizing the annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture on the first Thursday of February. The premier gala brings together agricultural leaders with state and national legislators to promote agriculture and educate lawmakers about its importance to the state’s economy and its people.

For more information on the Maryland Agriculture Council, go to www.mdagcouncil.com or contact Executive Director Susan Summers at 240-446-3601.

2023 Taste of Maryland Agriculture

53th Maryland Taste of Agriculture. Official event photography by Andrea Haines of ALH wordandimage LLC

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February 4, 2023
53rd Taste of Maryland Agriculture

Maryland Agriculture Council welcomes Governor, record crowd

The Maryland Agriculture Council, Inc., welcomed newly inaugurated Governor Wes Moore and Lt. Governor Aruna Miller, along with a record number of legislators and attendees at the 53rd Taste of Maryland Agriculture on Thursday, February 2, at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland in Hanover.

Over 800 agricultural leaders shared their farming stories and concerns with lawmakers during the evening’s networking format, while enjoying a bounty of Maryland agricultural products.

During the evening’s program, President Karen Engel shared her passion for growing up on a farm and encouraged the Governor and legislators to visit farms and the rural community. “We want you to gain an understanding and knowledge of why we do what we do. We want you to have the experience, so you can be informed to make educated decision that impact our livelihood.

“Governor, we appreciated your mantra of ‘leave no one behind’ – and we hope that includes the hard-working farmers and agribusinesses that continue to feed, clothe, and fuel all Marylanders.”
Karen Engel

Chair, Maryland Agriculture Council, Inc.

In fulfilling the Council’s mission to promote Maryland Agriculture and educate the public on its importance, the board awarded almost $5,000 in agricultural education grants. Five outstanding grassroots programs were honored, including:

Bulls in a Barn Podcast – Maryland LEAD Fellows – $1,000
Funds will be used to invest in professional audio and video equipment for a podcast highlighting issues impacting Maryland agriculture. The goal of the podcast is to have guest speakers discuss various topics and issues that will be educational for the audience, and eventually travel the state interviewing farmers, experts, and industry leaders.

University of Maryland Extension-Carroll County – $1,000
Grant will assist in covering the cost of supplies for hands-on experiments and first aid kit materials for a one-day educational Animal Science Round Up. Programming for youth will include instruction in the areas of dairy, small animals, and horses.

Prince George’s Soil Conservation District – $800
Funds will be used to design and print a rack card to promote the benefits and opportunities within the agricultural career field to parents and students and encourage enrollment in and the growth of the county’s Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources program.

Institute of Applied Agriculture-University of Maryland – $770
Grant will be used to procure equipment to teach the up-and-coming agricultural drone course offered by the Institute of Applied Agriculture. The classes will introduce students to cutting edge agricultural practices, instantly monitoring every single crop, every day at every point of the growing season.

University of Maryland-Harford County 4-H – $630
Funding will assist in designing and purchasing a portable agricultural activity area that can travel to the county fair, public school classrooms, outreach programs and workshops, allowing young children to have hands-on activities that encourages and fosters an interest in agriculture.

Governor Moore and Acting Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Atticks inducted the Daniel Fritz Family of Carroll County into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame to conclude the program.

“I appreciate that agriculture is Maryland’s top industry with its economic impact of nearly $20 billion and I applaud our farmers for their contribution to our economy, as well as our heritage, and our health,” said Governor Moore. “Congratulations to the Fritz family and congratulations to the Maryland Agriculture Council on over 50 years of hosting this event.”

For more information on the Maryland Agriculture Council, go to www.mdadcouncil.com or contact Executive Director Susan Summers at 240-446-3601.

Karen Engel, Maryland Ag Council Board President
Karen Engel, Maryland Agriculture Council Board of Directors President
August 30, 2022

Maryland Agriculture Council Leadership Elected

Karen Engel of Keymar was elected president of the Maryland Agriculture Council Board of Directors during its recent board meeting. Having served as vice president during the past year, she replaces outgoing leader, Michael Harrison Jr. of Woodbine.

Engel has been a member of the Council’s board since 2007, serving on numerous committees and playing an integral part in the group’s annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture. A graduate of the Institute for Applied Agriculture at the University of Maryland, she works with Triple Crown Nutrition.

“Agriculture is Maryland’s number one industry, but we have many challenges facing our farmers and the Maryland Agriculture Council is a crucial piece for a unified voice,” Engel said. “It is imperative that we share agriculture’s story with our elected officials as well as our citizens. I am excited to be a part of a great team working diligently to continue our mission.

“We are expecting many exciting opportunities this year,” she said. “The Taste of Maryland Agriculture 2023 is going to be grand, and I certainly hope many join us and help spread the great work of agriculture. We are ‘Expecting the Best!’”

Originally from Oakland, Engel was part of Hamilton Farms beef cattle operation with her dad and grandfather. She was active in both 4-H and FFA and served as a State FFA Officer. She worked with Southern States Cooperative in many capacities for 25 years, and then focused on soil health, biological soil inputs and consulting for 10 years. Engel has been with Triple Crown Nutrition for the past three years, working with dealers and horse owners in PA, NJ, DE and MD. She and her husband, Jeffrey, operate Wilview Farm in Keymar, first as his grandparent’s dairy for 25 years and now a successful beef operation.

Matt Teffeau of Annapolis was elected vice president of the organization and Kayla Griffith of Lothian will fill the role of secretary. Henry Brandt of Centreville was re-elected as treasurer.

Newly elected to the Board of Directors was Vanessa Finney of Brooklandville and Zach Evans of Salisbury. Re-elected board members, serving a two-year term, were, Doug Lechlider of Laytonsville, Colby Ferguson of Woodsboro, C. John Sullivan III of Fallston, Logan Yearsley of College Park, Crystal Pickett of Mount Airy, Kelli Wilson of Jefferson, George Grillon of Taneytown, Robert Black of Thurmont, Scott Youse of Ridgely, Jennifer Cross of Brandywine, Faith Elliott Rossing of Henderson and Engel.

The Council is best known for organizing the annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture. The premier gala brings together agricultural leaders with state and national legislators to promote agriculture and educate lawmakers about its importance to the state’s economy and its people. The 2023 event will be held on February 2, at the Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland.

For more information on the Maryland Agriculture Council, go to www.mdadcouncil.com or contact Executive Director Susan Summers at 240-446-3601.

New Venue Selected for Taste of Maryland Agriculture

For over 20 years, the Maryland Agriculture Council hosted its annual gathering of agricultural leaders and state and national legislators at Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie. In December 2020, the catering hall sadly became a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council leaders began an extensive search for a venue, and after much research and on-site visits, they selected Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland at Arundel Mills in Hanover.

The 52nd Taste of Maryland Agriculture will be held on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at the centrally located site off of MD Route 100. The Council’s event mission is to promote Maryland agriculture and educate lawmakers about its importance to the state’s economy and its people.

“We are very excited to host our growing event at THE HALL at Live! It’s an impressive setting – and perfect to celebrate the state’s number one industry, Agriculture.”
Mike Harrison Jr.

President , Maryland Agriculture Council

The long-standing tradition of serving primarily donated Maryland agricultural products will continue, thanks to the Live! executives, and tastings from the state’s wineries, breweries and distilleries will still be highlighted.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the Maryland Agriculture Council to our property in early 2022,” said Anthony Faranca, EVP & General Manager of Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland. “We’re ready to safely welcome back groups with our enhanced Play it Safe! plan and look forward to a great Taste of Maryland Agriculture event.”

Announcement Video

Venue Photos

Scroll through photos of the Hall at LIVE!. Learn more about the venue at maryland.livecasinohotel.com

Mike Harrison Maryland Ag Council President 2021
Michael Harrison Jr., Maryland Agriculture Council Board of Directors President
April 20, 2021

Maryland Agriculture Council Leadership Elected

Michael Harrison Jr. of Woodbine was elected president of the Maryland Agriculture Council Board of Directors during its April 20th board meeting. Having served as vice president during the past year, he replaces outgoing leader, Nancy Nunn of Queenstown.

Harrison has been a member of the Council’s board since 2017, serving on numerous committees and playing an integral part in the group’s annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture. The University of Maryland graduate works as a customer business adviser for Bayer Crop Science.

“I’m really looking forward to the exciting year ahead,” he said. “Promoting Maryland agriculture and sharing its importance with every elected official and citizen in the state is a challenge, but it is imperative that we continue that mission.”

Karen Engel of Keymar was elected vice president of the organization and Kayla Griffith of Lothian will fill the role of secretary. Henry Brandt of Centreville was re-elected as treasurer.

Newly elected to the Board of Directors was Emily Wilson of Harwood. Re-elected board members, serving a two-year term, were, Ray Greenstreet of Tracy’s Landing, Donna Landis-Smith of Marydel, Putt Willett of Laytonsville, Chuck Schuster of Glenwood, Susanne Richards Zilberfarb of Leonardtown, Robert C. Miller of Smyma, DE, David Gordon of Jefferson, Gail Yeiser of Arnold, Matt Teffeau of Annapolis, Calvert Steuart of Huntingtown, Kim Smith of Arlington, VA, Nunn, Harrison, Brandt and Griffith.

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2021 Taste of Maryland Agriculture

Special thank you to our the sponsors of our 2021 Taste of Maryland Agriculture Event — Press play to watch the event