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Richardson claims Miller Award, but he has organizers wait for it
By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
QUEENSTOWN, Md. — Roger Richardson had a reason to be late.
The former Maryland Secretary of Agriculture arrived at the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park an hour and a half after the start of the annual meeting of the Maryland Grain Producers Association, which traditionally opens the Maryland Commodity Classic.
There were about 300 people waiting for him and to applaud his selection as the 2014 winner of the MGPA’s coveted James R. Miller Award for service to agriculture.
You see, it was Richardson’s 60th wedding anniversary and a Lower Shore farmer and neighbor, former Maryland Ag Secretary Lewis Riley, was recruited to convince Richardson to break away to attend the Classic, the largest single farm gathering of the year.
Riley told organizers he would ride with the award winner.
The award traditionally is kept a secret until its announcement and Richardson was to know nothing about the honor that awaited him.
Richardson was introduced for the award by Kevin Anderson, MGPA president.
“It is a special treat for me to award it to a fellow farmer from the Lower Eastern Shore but one whom I know has touched all of your lives because of the significant roles he has played at the state level,” Anderson said.
Richardson served as Maryland ag secretary in the O’Malley administration from 2007 until 2009.
But his contributions to agriculture reached far beyond that.
He has served on the Agricultural Stewardship Commission; the Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, as director of American Corn Growers Association, on the Worcester County Farmland Preservation Committee, and as chairman of Maryland Farm Service Committee appointed by President Bill Clinton,
He also has served as State Committee Member of the Maryland Agriculture Stabilization Committee appointed by President Jimmy Carter, as a supervisor of the Worcester Soil Conservation District and a charter member of Snow Hill Grain, Inc., a farmer-owned co-op formed in 1966.
Also, he is a past president of the Worcester County Farm Bureau and since 1980 his incorporated trucking company has been transporting agricultural products.
His other community service includes serving on: the Worcester County Board of Education appointed by Gov. Harry Hughes, as manager of the Dividing Creek Public Drainage Association, as past president of Snow Hill Lions Club and as deacon of Olivet Christian Church.
He was born on April 20, 1934, at the home farm in Worcester County and married Fay Pusey on July 24, 1954.
He and Fay have two daughters, two granddaughters, four grandsons, and four great-granddaughters, four great-grandsons with one more great-grandson due any day, he said.