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Swanns 47th family to join Maryland Ag Hall of Fame
GLEN BURNIE, Md. (Feb. 9, 2015) — Gov. Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder inducted the Swann Family of Calvert County into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame at last week’s Taste of Maryland Agriculture event, making the family the 47th recipients of the honor at Michaels Eighth Avenue.
“It is hard to think of a family more deserving of this distinct honor than the Swann family,” Hogan said. “Their commitment to preserving our environmental resources and giving back to their community is a great reminder of how important agriculture is to the state of Maryland.”
Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame was created back in 1991 by then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer to honor agricultural leaders who exemplify high standards of achievement and commitment to the industry and their communities.
J. Allen “Sambo” Swann said in accepting the honor that being able to work with family has been the key to a rewarding farming career.
“You know, to do what you really want to do for a career, where you want to do it at, and who you want to do it with, it just doesn’t get any better than that,” he said.
Swann Farms spans more than 360 acres along the Patuxent River in northern Calvert County.
For more than 160 years and six generations, the Swann family has grown tobacco and traditional field crops including corn, wheat, barley and soybeans.
In 1994, the family began to diversify their crops into fruits and vegetables. The farm also grows malting barley which is often sourced by local breweries.
More recently, in an effort to directly engage with consumers, Swann Farms began a you-Pick operation, to allow consumers to pick their own fresh produce.
“Sambo, Jody, and now Joe-Sam are a shining example of a progressive farm family that puts quality production above all else,” said Susie Hance-Wells, Calvert County Farm Bureau president, who helped nominate the family. “Swann Farms is highly respected in Southern Maryland for its attention to detail and its positive contribution to the community as a whole.”
With its close proximity to the Putuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay, the farm engages in many environmental best practices, which incudes the use of nutrient management planning, the use of cover crops and minimum-till production of fruit and vegetables.
“They have a beautiful farm on the Patuxent River and are very conscientious about applying the right conservation practices to reduce erosion into the river and promote soil health,” said Bill Clark, Calvert County Soil Conservation District manager. “They continue to diversify the farm, growing new and innovative crops, and trying new ideas.”
The family has also been consistently involved with the University of Maryland Extension’s educational programs.
The Swanns are also involved with several charities and have donated produce to the Maryland Food Bank, End Hunger Calvert, and many local churches, fire departments and nonprofits.
The family also remains dedicated to the Calvert County Farm Bureau and its Young Farmers committee, where they have collectively held several leadership roles throughout the years.