Governor Martin O'Malley joined about 700 agricultural leaders and legislators from across the State to induct two farming families into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame. The Kohl Family of Kent County and Joseph Layton, Jr. of Dorchester County became the 40th and 41st recipients of the prestigious recognition during the annual “Taste of Maryland” agriculture event at Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie. Department of Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance joined Governor O’Malley during the presentations.
“It is my honor to stand beside the Kohls and the Laytons tonight to recognize their outstanding accomplishments, commitment and contributions to agriculture, family, resource conservation and community,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “In honoring these two families, who represent more than a century of farming in Maryland, we also honor the dedication and hard work of every farmer in this state. We count on their continued partnership as we continue to keep Maryland smart, green and growing.”
“All of Maryland agriculture has benefited from the contributions of the Kohl and the Layton families, and we are honored to welcome them into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame,” said Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance. “Through their efforts, both families have made significant accomplishments to advance agriculture, support their communities, preserve farmland, protect the environment and encourage young people to get involved in farming.”
During his remarks, Governor O’Malley focused on the outstanding leadership, stewardship and accomplishments of the agricultural community. He commended farmers for setting an all-time record by planting nearly 400,000 acres of cover crops this year. The Governor also reiterated his support for the agricultural community through personal involvement and policy initiatives as well as his belief in the vital necessity of a thriving agricultural industry to the health of the State, its citizens, the economy and the environment.
Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame was created in 1991 by then Governor William Donald Schaefer to honor agricultural leaders who exemplify high standards of achievement and commitment to the industry and their communities.
A complete list of the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame members is available online.
Because of the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s preservation, promotion, regulation, education and service activities, the citizens of Maryland can expect a safe and healthy environment and food supply, fairness in the marketplace, and that agriculture remains a strong economic force in the State. Established in 1973, MDA is celebrating over 35 years of service to the citizens of Maryland.
Biographies of about the Hall of Fame families can be found below. Testimonials about each family are available here.
The Kohl Family
Angelica Nurseries, Inc.
The Kohl family owns and operates Angelica Nurseries, Inc., a 2,200 acre wholesale nursery that originated in Pennsylvania and moved to Maryland in 1956. Three generations of nurserymen - Mr. Kohl and his sons Verne, Tim and Bernard, Sr., and grandsons Jim and Bernard, Jr. - are all part of the family operation, which strives to produce heavy, landscape grade plants grown to the highest standards. Kent County’s Sassafras silt loam soil is ideal for their unique bag and burlap operation, which utilizes highly specialized equipment created through the family’s own innovation. Angelica Nurseries is the largest H2A employer in the State of Maryland and at the forefront of the immigration/legal work force issue. Their expertise has been sought by President Bush, who met with them in 2007, and they have served as a liaison to the Governor’s Commission on Migrant and Seasonal Labor. The family members have held leadership roles for a number of national, state and local boards and commissions and civic organizations. Within the community, they regularly contribute to the needs of local churches, fire companies, parks and others with donations of plants and equipment. Governor O’Malley recognized their donation of 2,000 trees to a state tree planning program for homeowners in Prince George’s County who lost trees resulting from emerald ash borer eradication efforts. They have also been honored with the MNLA Professional Achievement Award (1987) and Kent County Cooperator of the Year Award (1985).
Joseph Layton, Jr., Family
Lazy Day Farms/Layton’s Chance Vineyard & Winery
The Layton family has been farming in Dorchester County since the 1920s, primarily producing grain crops, and now manages 1,820 acres. Joseph Layton and his wife Laura have been farming for 38 years. When their son William and his wife Jennifer joined the operation, they diversified the operation to include a vineyard and a winery, Layton’s Chance, which opened to the public in May, 2010. Since its opening, the winery has sold over 4,500 bottles of wine creating new avenues of economic development for the family and the community. They have implemented Soil and Water Conservation Plans, along with Forest Stewardship Plans, Nutrient Management Plans and Integrated Pest Management Plans on all the land they manage. The Laytons are innovators and leaders in adopting successful practices. The family remains at the forefront of technology adoption, with record keeping and marketing/business operation plans at the core of their operation. Joseph and Laura serve on various boards and committees serving the interests of agriculture and the community at large including Farm Bureau, the Dorchester County Cooperative Extension Program Advisory Committee, Maryland Soybean Board, Dorchester Ag Reconciliation Committee, Maryland Grain Producers, Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association Board of Directors, Dorchester County Grain Marketing Club and the Dorchester Board of Education. The family has been honored with many awards and recognitions including Maryland 100 Bushel Corn Club Contest, Dorchester County Cooperator of the Year, Maryland Cooperator of the Year, Maryland Young Farmer Achievement Award. Lazy Day Farms was named a “Best Managed Farm” in Farm Futures Magazine and received the “Ag Innovator Award” as part of their “Best Managed Farms” contest.