KSWCD hosts annual dinner, honors Fry family
CHESTERTOWN, Md. — A dinner crowd of 120 cooperators gathered June 14 at the Frank Jarman American Legion Post to honor Fair Hill Farms.
It was the annual cooperators dinner of the Kent Soil and Water Conservation District in which good food and fellowship were the order of the evening.
But the highlight of the event was the presentation of the “Cooperator of the Year” award by District Manager Karen Miller, to Fair Hill Farms Inc. under the leadership of Ed and Matt Fry.
Fair Hill Farms Inc. has a long standing reputation of being conservation minded. Under the direction of the late “Pop” Fry and with the help of a younger Ed, the farm won the “Cooperator of the Year” award in 1979.
There are now three generations of “Cooperator of the Year” award winners in the Fry family. Robert Fry and Judy Gifford also won the award in 2001 for their Kennedyville dairy operation.
The gathering lamented the recent passing of Edwin C. “Pop” Fry, the founder of the current family who died on June 1 at the age of 88.
He was remembered for the many conservation practices that he himself began implementing years ago and for the legacy for the younger generations to follow.
Included in this younger generation is Matt Fry, who oversees the milking operation of approximately 290 Holstein and Brown Swiss cows. He said he plans to expand the herd to 500 by 2015.
In 1998 Ed started to transition part of the operation to organic farming and now has 1,445 acres of certified organic cropland as well as an organic beef herd. Between the Kent, Queen Anne’s and Anne Arundel farms the Fry operation consists of 2,050 acres as well as another 2,000 acres that they custom harvest.
To date Fair Hill Farms Inc. has installed 10.4 acres of grassed waterways, two grade stabilization structures, three acres of riparian forest buffer, 270 feet of diversions, three waste storage structures, a waste storage lagoon, a sediment control pond, 6.2 acres of conservation cover, a one-tenth acre heavy use area, and 2,340 feet of fencing.
After dinner, District Conservationist Nancy Metcalf gave the “Year in Review” presentation on conservation work completed in the county. She reported that 2011 cost-share payments for Best Management Practices installed amounted to approximately $1.7 million.
State and federal cover crop applications totaled 173 for a total of 47,122 acres planted.
State and federal money approved for the cover crop program totaled approximately $2.7 million.
A reminder was given to all about next year’s 75th anniversary celebration being planned for the Kent Soil & Water Conservation District to be held on June 22, 2013.