Officials Tour Berlin Dairy Farm

Officials Tour Berlin Dairy Farm
Officials Tour

BERLIN — Maryland Lieutenant Governor and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown was stumping on the Eastern Shore last week with visits to Salisbury and Berlin to highlight a pair of agricultural success stories.
Brown first visited Perdue’s corporate offices in Salisbury to celebrate the company’s recent Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. As a result of a four-year, $10.5 million renovation, Perdue’s corporate office facility in Salisbury is the first LEED platinum building on the Eastern Shore and one of just 19 LEED platinum projects in all of Maryland. LEED certification provided independent third-part verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health.
On Wednesday afternoon, Brown visited the family owned and operated Chesapeake Bay Farms, the only dairy farm in Worcester County, to promote Maryland’s dairy industry and encourage Marylanders to visit rural areas of the state. Chesapeake Bay Farms, owned and operated by the Holland family for generations, runs a retail facility on Route 50 in Berlin to promote its homemade ice creams, milk, butter and artisan cheeses, among other products. The Hollands also have the working dairy farm in Pocomoke with nearly 200 cows producing the milk it uses in its homemade products.
Chesapeake Bay Farms is one of eight stops across the state on Maryland’s Ice Cream Trail and the easternmost. The eight working dairy operations on the trail, established in 2012 to promote agriculture in general and the dairy industry specifically, stretch from Berlin in the east and Washington County in the West. Visitors are provided with a passport to get stamped at each stop along the trail and can submit their completed passport on the website for a chance to named Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trailblazer.
First, however, the participants must answer a question specific to each dairy operation on the trail to ensure they actually visited the locations. For example, the question for Chesapeake Bay Farms is “what kind of cow produces the most milk?’ and the answer, it was learned on Wednesday, is Holstein.
Brown, along with Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance, visited Chesapeake Bay Farms in Berlin on Wednesday and asked pointed questions about the Holland family farm operation. Hance told the lieutenant governor the Hollands had been in the county’s farming community for several decades.
“This family has been around here for a very long time,” he said. “It’s a very old working farm family in Worcester County.”
Hance told Brown the Hollands and the other family farms along Maryland’s Ice Cream Trail are familiar with each other and often interact on issues related to their operations.
“We try to pull them together once in a while because they have a lot of the same issues, even though they’re in different parts of the state.”
Laura Holland told Brown the family relies in large part on state and federal grants to keep the operation up and running. The Hollands invested large start-up costs in terms of purchasing equipment, but the state and federal funding help sustain the operation. She specifically mentioned the Added Value Producer grant.
“That money doesn’t help with equipment, but it does help with marketing and other parts of the operation,” she said. “To take some of your own savings and start a business like this is a huge risk, so to have that extra help is so important.”
Brown said state grants for farming operations such as Chesapeake Bay Farms are meant to provide a leg-up for independent, hard-working farm families like the Hollands.
“What we hope happens is creating a bridge to sustainability,” he said. “We can help create a market and get it running so you can be self-sustaining when the grants go away. You are raising and producing things that are part of the substance of life and you’re doing things that are meaningful and important.”
The only brush with controversy during the otherwise feel-good stop in Berlin came when Brown was asked a pointed question about Democratic rival for governor and Attorney General of Maryland Doug Gansler’s recent remarks the Brown campaign for governor in 2014 will largely be about race. Brown responded he is running solely on his record and his 16 years of experience first in the General Assembly and later as lieutenant governor.
“This campaign will be about things that matter most to all Marylanders including good schools, access to health care and jobs,” he said. “For me, that’s what this campaign is all about and we have a lot of work to do. All communities in Maryland, including the African-American community, are looking for a leader to get results.”