February 2023

Kilby Farms, Inc.

785 Firetown Road

Colora, MD 21917

Converting Manure into Energy

The LEAD Maryland Alumni Committee invites you to a Methane Digester tour being held at Kilby Farms, Inc. on Thursday, March 30th from 10:30 am to Noon.

This is a great chance to learn how to generate energy from manure. Methane Digesters aren't just for dairy operations, learn how poultry growers can reduce poultry litter odor issues.

Speakers will be Ben and Liz Flahart, owners of Kilby Farms, Inc. and Cliff and Andrea Sensenig, who also run a dairy in nearby Quarryville, PA. From the University of Maryland Environmental Sciences & Technology department, Dr. Amro Hassanein will also present on water to energy. And representing District 3, County Council member, Al Miller, Councilman Miller is a past dairy farmer with strong ties to the agricultural community he serves.

The registration fee is $20, which also covers a meal from Smokehouse Grill.

There will be no refunds. Registration will close on March 24, 2023.

Sign Up Here!

Class XI International Study Tour to Spain

Photo provided by Lena McBean from Remsberg Inc.

LEAD Maryland Class XI traveled to Spain on their international study tour from September 18-29, 2022. The Fellows met with farmers and agricultural officials from around the country, all the while experiencing the different cultures and regions.

At a few of the farm tours, Fellows had the opportunity to learn about olive production, dairy, seafood, greenhouses, the horse industry, and even Iberian ham.

The Delmarva Farmer Newspaper printed a special supplement to their October 25, 2022 edition newspaper that can be viewed here.

Class XI Graduation

Photo provided by Lena McBean from Remsberg Inc.

Class XI Fellows graduated on November 9, 2022. The event was held at the Blackwell Barn & Lodge in Gambrills, Maryland. Close to 80 attendees traveled from across the state to enjoy a chef's dinner prepared with local ingredients, including farms from two graduating Class members'.

Out and about with LEAD Maryland!

LEAD Maryland participated in the 2022 Maryland Farm Bureau Annual Convention and Meeting of Delegates from December 3-6, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa, and Marina in Cambridge, Maryland.

The LEAD Maryland Alumni Committee also held a Social on Sunday, December 4, 2022. This was the second year this event has been held at Layton's Chance Vineyard and Winery. The hospitality can not be beaten!

On January 12th, the LEAD Maryland Alumni Committee held a professional networking event and social at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

This event was sponsored by Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA), Marshall's Riverbank Nurseries, Ingleside Nurseries, and Horizon Farm Credit. A big thank you to our wonderful sponsors!


Kristin Fisher

Class VI, 2010-2011, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Taiwan

Photo provided by Kristin Fisher

Meet Kristin Fisher

“I’m a 4H kid who still loves riding horses, gardening, and being outside. I have lived in Maryland for the past 17 years, starting with a position as a Soil Conservation Planner at the Montgomery Soil Conservation District. That work sparked my interest in the connection between agriculture and natural resources, and shortly after that, my nerdy love for science led me to study soil science in graduate school. So any time someone wants to talk about soils, send them my way!”

What new things are going on in your life, business, or farming operations?

“I still live in Frederick with my husband, Eric, and two daughters, Caris and Gemma, who are now 6 and 4 years old. Over the past few years, I have enjoyed teaching and more recently directing the Master’s program in Environmental Biology at Hood College in Frederick, MD, and consulting for the Montgomery County Office of Agriculture. Then last year, I had the opportunity to start a new position as the Applied Agricultural Scientist with the Nature Conservancy’s Chesapeake Bay agriculture team. I now get to work with partners across the Chesapeake Bay watershed to apply new research ideas to on-the-ground projects that can help agriculture achieve increased environmental and economic sustainability.”

How has LEAD Maryland helped shape you as a leader and your professional career?

“When I applied to LEAD, it felt like a stretch into a commitment that I wasn’t sure I was totally ready to make, but one that was well worth the effort in the end. During LEAD and many times since I’ve experienced that same discomfort of stretching myself but then being glad I did because of being rewarded for what I learned or contributed as a result. So I guess since that first application to the program, the practice of going outside my comfort zone and saying “yes” even when it makes me uncomfortable, has helped me grow personally and professionally. And it gets easier every time.”

What value does LEAD offer to Maryland and agriculture as a whole?

“LEAD builds ties among people who work in agriculture and with and for farmers. Those ties not only develop within a LEAD class but being a LEAD alumna has also jump-started conversations with other alumni and helped to build more relationships in the industry. The Fellowship is an experience that everyone is enthusiastic about, has learned a lot from, and is eager to discuss. Developing those personal connections can be essential later in work-related conversations, projects, and interactions that help drive progress forward.”

What surprised you most about LEAD? Is there something you got from LEAD that you didn’t expect?

“There are a lot of answers to this question, but one of the most unexpected things I got out of LEAD was the seminar that included the Myers-Briggs test. Going through that evaluation as a class, and learning about different communication preferences and personality types, was eye-opening and I took it as a real celebration and recognition of what we all bring to the table. The perfect closing exercise was being randomly but fortuitously paired with someone who was my opposite in all categories (I’ll call out Rob Burke if I can!) and then being tasked with reading and responding to an activity together. It was a perfect demonstration of how people approach tasks, process information, and complete work differently, and we were able to laugh about those differences instead of perhaps being frustrated by them. I have thought back to that many times since in both my personal and professional life, trying to recognize when those fundamental differences in how we process information and express ourselves can be an unnecessary point of conflict that gets in the way of doing great work together.”

What advice would you offer a potential LEAD fellow applicant and a present LEAD Fellow?

“I think I learned as much from my classmates as I did from our seminars together, so enjoy the experience, take the opportunity to dig into topics and learn about different perspectives, and go on the international trip, wherever it takes you. You will be plugged into a growing network of fellows who are eager to get to know you and work with you to support Maryland agriculture.”

Upcoming Events

January 31st-February 3rd - Class XII Seminar held in Annapolis

February 21st - LEAD Maryland Foundation quarterly meeting, Grasonville, MD.

March 30th - LEAD Maryland Alumni Event - Converting Manure into Energy, at Kilby Farms, Inc. in Colora, MD.

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