Wayson Family Named Conservationists of the Year
The Wayson Family of Hopewell Farms in Friendship, Maryland was named Conservationists of the Year by the Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District. Members of the Wayson family, Dave and Carol Wayson, Donna Wayson and her husband Dr. Andrew Gergely, and Thomas Craig and Denny Wayson, received the honor at the AASCD’s annual banquet on October 26. In addition to the AASCD award, the Wayson family was presented with a number of official citations including from Anne Arundel County Council Vice Chairman Jerry Walker, Maryland Delegate Seth Howard, Natural Resource Conservation Service Maryland State Conservationist Dr. Terron Hillsman, and Maryland Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Resource Conservation Hans Schmidt. The AASCD has recognized a “Cooperator of the Year” for almost every year since 1956. In 2016, they changed the award to “Conservationist of the Year” to better represent the meaning of the honor. “A Cooperator is a farmer or landowner who voluntarily agrees to implement best management practices on their land in cooperation with the Soil Conservation District,” said AASCD District Manager John Czajkowski. “The ‘Conservationist of the Year’ is given to an individual or family who has gone above and beyond to work with us and manage natural resources,” Czajkowski said. Hopewell Farm has been in the Wayson family since before the Civil War. It was formerly a tobacco farm and has since transitioned into new enterprises including a horse training and boarding facility, and pasture-based livestock operation with beef cattle, chickens, and other livestock. The Wayson family have been AASCD Cooperators for more than a decade. They have implemented a number of best management practices on their farm including grazing management, heavy use areas, watering facilities, and cover crops. In the horse boarding operation, Donna Wayson has installed an extensive fencing system for the horses as well as water runoff controls on and around the barns and buildings. Hopewell Farm was the 101st farm in Maryland to be certified through the Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program (FSCAP). “We want to congratulate the Wayson family on this achievement and thank them for working with the District to improve soil and water quality,” Czajkowski said.
AASCD Releases Annual Report
The Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District released its 2016 Annual Report. Highlights include achievements from our Agriculture and Urban Divisions as well as the 2016 Conservationists of the Year, and events hosted by or attended by the District throughout the year. Download the Annual Report
Women Only Land Conservation Workshop Announced
August 3, 2017 (Annapolis, MD) — Women are playing an increasingly critical role in determining the future of farmland. It is estimated that 240 million acres of farmland across the United States will change hand in the next twenty years and that by 2030, women may own 75 percent of transferred farmland. To help women be more prepared for their role as the primary farm decision-makers, the American Farm Land Trust (AFT) has established a Women for the Land initiative. The Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District and the Prince George’s Soil Conservation District will be hosting a local “Learning Circle,” which is a peer-to-peer women-only program that enables women to learn from each other, gain confidence, and obtain technical and financial assistance to protect their land’s natural resources. “This initiative has proven successful in other states, including other parts of Maryland and we are excited to be hosting an event in Anne Arundel County,” said John Czajkowski, District Manager for the Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District (AASCD). AASCD is interested to hear from women landowner or women who are soon to inherit farm land and want to participate in this program. “The intent of these learning circles is to foster a sense of community and connection among the women,” said Czajkowski, “As such, participation is limited and we do anticipate a high demand.” The workshop will be held at the Prince George’s Soil and Water Conservation District office (5301 Race Track Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772). There are three individual sessions:
- Session 1: Saturday, September 30, 2017 from 9:00am to 3:00pm Topic: Introductions and Overview of Conservation
- Session 2: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 from 9:00am to 3:00pm Topic: Conservation Programs and Practices (Includes Farm Tour)
- Session 3: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm Topic: Succession Planning; Leasing
— MORE —The registration fee is $15 per person. In anticipation of high demand, pre-registration is encouraged. Interested participants can submit their information at http://bit.ly/WesternShoreLC . Registration may also be competed by contacting the American Farmland Trust at (301) 330-3460 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. “We anticipate that this will be a successful event and hope to see it expand to neighboring regions. And if the demand is high enough, we may look to host a similar event in the future,” Czajkowski said.