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Millison named ’16 Miss Md. Agriculture
By SEAN CLOUGHERTY
TIMONIUM, Md. (Sept. 6, 2016) — Megan Millison said she counted down the days to her eighth birthday, the age she could start raising and showing 4-H livestock projects.
Her stepbrother, Christopher Whetzel, was already raising pigs and she said she was hooked right away.
“I always went out there and wanted to help out,” she said. “It’s cool to get them at such a young age and watch them grow. Then you get to be recognized in the show ring for all the hard work you put in.”
Now, as 2016 Miss Maryland Agriculture, she’s bringing that same enthusiasm to promoting the farming industry for the coming year.
“I know I want to put as much work as I can into it. I love being a spokesperson,” she said during a break in duties at the Maryland State Fair. “I love representing agriculture and being that smiling face talking to people.”
Millison, of Frederick County, was chosen from 23 women vying for the title on Aug. 26 at the fair.
With the title comes scholarship and cash awards valued at $13,000 and her responsibilities will continue throughout the year, as she will participate in a number of activities representing Maryland agriculture.
“The purpose of the Miss Maryland Agriculture Program, in partnership with the Maryland State Fair, is to surface young women with an agricultural background to serve as leaders who will promote our agricultural industry and the Farm Bureau organization throughout the year and in the future,” said Mary Amoss, Miss Maryland Agriculture state coordinator.
Runners up in the contest were Sara Lechlider of Montgomery County; Tierra Watkins of Worcester County; Jennifer Brigante of Howard County and Kimmi Doran of Harford County.
“Before any names were called, I told myself, win or lose, this was a great experience,” Millison said of the two-day competition, quizzing the women on their agricultural knowledge and experience, speaking ability, Farm Bureau knowledge, and presentation.
But as the contest closed in on a winner, she could feel her heart racing.
“It almost came out of my chest,” she said.
And after her name was called, she remembers glancing at her cheering section of family and Frederick County Farm Bureau members in the audience.
“All of them were crying. I’m surprised the table didn’t flip over,” she said.
Millison said with starting college this year at Salisbury University, she was hesitant to participate in the scholarship competition.
However, her FFA advisor, Amy Jo Poffenberger kept encouraging her to jump in.
“She finally just said ‘Megan, run at the county level. It’ll be a blast.’” Millison said. “She’s been a big supporter of mine through everything.”
Talking with Farm Bureau members about the issues they face in farming was very helpful in preparing for the contest, she added.
Along with keeping 4-H livestock projects, Millison was heavily involved in her FFA chapter at Catoctin High School.
This year, Millison received a State FFA Degree, was a Maryland State FFA Veterinary Science Placement Proficiency Winner, and placed first in the Agriculture Issues CDE at the Maryland FFA State Convention.
She worked as a veterinary assistant at Catoctin Veterinary Clinic and this summer worked as a secretary for her father Phillip Millison’s company P&M Transmissions.
“We had a blast,” Millison said. “It was cool to work along side my dad and he taught me lots of cool things.”
With her new duties as Miss Maryland Agriculture and at Salisbury University studying social work, Millison said she is still able to show in 4-H for one more year and after starting as early as she could, she wants to take is as far as it will go.
“I don’t want to cut it short for any reason,” she said.