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Lauren Pogue, Marketing Specialist
P: 240.313.2382
Ernst Grain and LIVESTOCK Farm recognized as
2017 washington county farm of the yeaR
Seventh annual award honoring agricultural heritage and farm families in Washington County
From left to right: Leslie Hart, Commissioner Wayne Keefer, Commissioner John Barr, Commissioner LeRoy Myers, Steve Ernst, Josh Ernst, Kimberly Ernst, President Terry Baker, Dan Norris, Vice-President Jeff Cline

HAGERSTOWN, MD. (November 6, 2017) - The Washington County Department of Business Development , Agricultural Business Development is pleased to announce  Ernst Grain and Livestock Farm , located in Clear Spring, Maryland, and nominated by Cody Pine, as the recipient of the 2017-2018 Washington County Maryland Farm of the Year award. 
Founded in 1832, the Ernst Farm is a 500+-acre, 185-year-old family farm owned by the Ernst family. The farm raises livestock and grows a variety of crops including soybeans, corn, cover crops, wheat, alfalfa, timothy, orchard grass, smooth brome hay, barley and Canadian oats.
The seventh generation farm raises hogs and sheep.  The careful breeding programs for purebred and cross-bred animals show the dedication to the hog and sheep industry.  The Ernst Grain and Livestock Farm features Poland China hogs along with crossbred hogs featuring Berkshire, Chester White, Yorkshire, Durocs and Hampshire.  Their sheep range from Dorset, Texel and Polypay.
The next generation of Ernst's is the oldest son, Joshua Ernst.  He has added a NON-GMO product line as the farm continues to diversify and grow. The bio secure animal area is a great example of the Ernst family's dedication to preventing any health concerns and improving the pork and lamb production results.
The grains grown on the Ernst Farm are used to feed the animals that are bred on the farm.  They also direct market to other farms in the region.
The Ernst family is a steward of conservation. This is demonstrated by their no-till farming practices, use of riparian buffers and grass buffers, increasing wildlife habitats and cover crops. In recognition of these practices, the Ernst family is one of the first recipients of a Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program.  The FSCAP recognizes farms that implement best management practices to protect the Chesapeake Bay. 
"The dedication to the Clear Spring community, the steadfast commitment to the county and state agricultural community, the focus and long term goals on high quality animal breeding and production quality and the economic vow and pledge to keep the Ernst Family in agricultural production for over seven generations shows this Family is here to stay for many generations to come," Pine said of the Ernst family in his application submission to Washington County.
Ernst Grain and Livestock Farm has been featured in Maryland Farm and Harvest that aired in November of 2016.  The focus of the program was the next generation on the farm. In order to make a new profitable enterprise, the family developed custom blended grain products in small size lots/bags to meet the need for specialty growers.
To be eligible for this award, the principal farm operator/owner must be in business for a minimum of five years and be on at least five acres of agriculturally zoned land and primarily located in Washington County. Winning farms showcase excellence in agriculture and promote a greater understanding of the challenges faced by today's farmers. Numerous criteria are judged including production, conservation, preservation, community involvement, and dedication to farming and agriculture.
For more information on Ernst Grain and Livestock, check out their website here , or visit them on Facebook .
For those in the agriculture community interested in more information contact Leslie Hart, Agricultural Business Development Specialist at: 240-313-2284 or lhart@hagerstownedc.org .

About the Washington County Department of Business Development,
Agricultural Business Development  
Washington County Department of Business Development, Agricultural Business Development is a County agency providing assistance to new and expanding businesses throughout Hagerstown and Washington County, Maryland. The DBD, Agricultural Business Development is responsible for developing, marketing, and managing economic development strategies and implementing marketing programs to attract, retain, preserve and grow agricultural enterprises and related industries. The DBD interacts with a vast network of public, private and nonprofit organizations to address the agricultural and business needs of the community, as well as attract new companies to the county. Visit www.hagerstownedc.org/agricultural-marketing for more information.

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