The Frederick County Farm Bureau has been named one of the nation’s top 25 bureaus by the American Farm Bureau Federation for innovative program ideas in this year’s County Activities of Excellence Awards program.
Frederick is one of three Maryland counties to earn the distinction, which acknowledges and shares successful county farm bureau programs and activities. Baltimore and Queen Anne’s County farm bureaus will also be recognized at the federation’s annual meeting in January in Nashville, Tenn.
The program focuses on the farm bureaus’ priorities: education and agricultural promotion; member services; public relations and information; leadership development; and policy implementation.
With support from Frederick County Farm Bureau President Raymond Ediger and Secretary Kelli Wilson, Karen Zimmerman led a unique education project called “Schoolhouse Chicks.”
The program educates school students and faculty about agriculture and life cycles through three classroom visits. Live, adult chickens are presented during the first visit, and an incubator is set up in the classroom. During the second visit, classes look for embryo development and are left with brooder supplies. On the third visit, chicks return to the farm. Each class exhibits one chicken at The Great Frederick County Fair.
The program fosters positive communication and understanding between farm and nonfarm communities, officials said. Through the excitement of watching chicks hatch, teachers, students, and, in some cases, parents and siblings develop an awareness and appreciation for farmers and their animals. Teachers and students are also excited about field trips to the county fair where they visit their former chicks, now adult chickens, on display in the poultry building.