October 2023

The LEAD Maryland Program is recognizing its 25th year! To highlight this achievement, we have a special logo that we are using now and through 2024. We have added a "silver lining" around the sunrise image, plus the years "1999-2024" and "25 Years" in a silver banner.

Recruitment of Class I began in the fall of 1998 and the first LEAD 3-day seminar was held in February 1999. So far, 268 Fellows, participating in Classes 1 through 12, have completed the LEAD Program. (Class 12 will graduate in the spring of 2024).

Our faculty and staff serving the LEAD Program have, collectively, over 42 years of experience! Susan Harrison has served the program for 25 years; Debbie Simpkins has served the program for 15 years; and Megan Stibbe has served for 2 years, plus Megan graduated as a Class VII Fellow. 

Maryland Farm Bureau President Wayne Stafford, Susan Harrison, and LEAD Maryland Foundation President Emily Wilson at the Dairy Bar on the "LEAD Maryland Day," September 8, 2023. Image by Jeb Burchick.

LEAD Maryland at the Dairy Bar

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to serve ice cream at the Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmers Dairy Bar at the Maryland State Fair! It's always time well spent -- and a lot of fun -- to serve and to connect with other LEAD Alums and Dairy Bar patrons. 

Executive Director's Message

Forming the new Class XIII (2024-2025)

40 emerging leaders have submitted applications to participate in the next LEAD class, Class XIII (2024-25)! Thank you to the applicants!  And thank you to everyone who worked to introduce the LEAD Program to others, and to supply written references.  We are excited to see strong interest in the LEAD Program again this year.

Just as exciting is reading the more than 120 references that were submitted to speak to the quality and readiness of the applicants to be successful in completing the LEAD Fellowship. Who wouldn't be excited to work with people who come to the program with these words of support? 

"She is a confident, self-starter and driven to succeed."
"The ag community is one that appreciates authenticity. [The applicant] has experienced many of the same issues that local producers face on a day to day basis."
"She is compassionate, a good listener and open communicator, trustworthy and reliable, as well as a good reader of people and situations, all of which are essential qualities for constructive leadership."
"He is always willing to go learn new ideas through conferences, speakers, and programs."
"He would learn valuable information, meet other people also interested in agriculture, and broaden his knowledge from this program."
"She truly desires for the public to understand the struggles and benefits of the agricultural world."

So thank you to each person who took the time to support the applicants and submit a reference. Your words are helpful and motivational!  

Applicant interviews will be held in November and the members of the new class will be announced in December. 


Susan R. Harrison

Executive Director, LEAD Maryland Foundation, and

Principal Agent Associate, University of Maryland Extension

Buy an ad and support LEAD!

The Delmarva Farmer newspaper is partnering with LEAD Maryland for the Class XII Panama Study Tour supplement scheduled to be published in March 2024.

Fifty percent of the advertisement sales from the supplement will be donated back to LEAD Maryland! You can buy an ad and know it's directly benefiting LEAD Maryland.

You can buy an ad to promote your business, promote a product, or even promote an event in which you may be involved!

The ad sales deadline is March 6th.

To place an ad, call Tiffany at (800) 634-5021 or email tiffany@americanfarm.com.

Click on the document below to save and share.

Class XII's Seminar in Baltimore City

During the LEAD seminar held in and near Baltimore in September, Class XII toured the Maryland Food Bank and received an overview of the Foodworks Culinary Training Program. From their website "The FoodWorks program offers a fresh start to low-income individuals with 12 weeks of intense culinary training. FoodWorks students learn basic cooking skills while converting fresh produce and other perishable foods into healthy meals for distribution to those in need."

(Image by Remsberg, Inc.)

Invited and hosted by their classmate, Richard Francis "Farmer Chippy," Class XII Fellows toured the Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm and learned more about their mission. Farmer Chippy posts on their website, "And my dream was to create an urban Farm, an AgriHood, in the City of Baltimore that spreads love, supports the community, and brings healthy food to the city!"

(Image by Remsberg, Inc.)

Class III Alumnus Patrick Rodgers provided Class XII a tour of the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. Patrick is Director of Operations at Canton Stevedoring, Inc., Baltimore. The class was able to gain an introduction and overview of the products coming in and going out of the port, and the size and scale of operations, including the "Ro Ro Cargo," a specialty of the Port of Baltimore. "Ro Ro Cargo" consists of roll on/roll off farm and construction machinery, as well as autos and trucks. (Image by Susan Harrison)

"Lights, Camera, ...Interview!" Media training was provided by Brooke McDonald and Michael Brassert from Houpla, Inc. for the Class XII Fellows as part of LEAD's seminar in September. Thank you to JT Albright for being the first of the class Fellows to practice his skills in this session. He had help from classmate Sarah Harrison to make sure he looked his best in front of the cameras.

(Image by Susan Harrison)

Upcoming Events

November 28th Giving Tuesday the start of the giving season that charities like LEAD Maryland Foundation depend on for raising funds through donations coming from individuals. Donations are accepted online here.

November 28th LEAD Maryland Foundation Regular Quarterly Board Meeting

December 2nd LEAD Maryland participates in the Maryland Farm Bureau Convention (December 2-5), Cambridge, MD

December 3rd LEAD Maryland Alumni Winter Social, location TBD, 5-7 p.m., Cambridge, MD

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