News from the fields, farms and beyond…

Love Run Farm at 1908 Conowingo Road kind of started so Elizabeth Gambill could add an agriculture element to the homeschooling of her children.

“We got a goat, then we got chickens and we added turkeys and ducks,” Gambill said as she waded through a coop full of poultry.

Now nearly a year later, the 30 acre Rising Sun farm has blossomed into a business selling chicken, turkey, pork, beef and eggs.

“We got cows from Kilby’s at two days old,” she said. “They’re a lot of work. You have to bottle feed them two times a day.”

Daughters Megan Gambill and Christine Oetting chopped up cabbage and sliced apples and sweet potatoes and ventured to the barn to feed the animals. When the door rolled open there was a cacophony of clucks, gobbles and snorts greeting them.

Gambill decided to sell the goats and get pigs. She recently established a web store within the Love Run Farm website and is now selling locally made items too.

“We have Chesapeake Gold Farms cheese and butter, and Maplehofe Dairy milk,” she said. She also sells the eggs from her flock. The latest additions to the web store are Cash’s Woodshop and Goddess To Go.

“I had to have these boards,” she said of the workmanship produced by Cash Vanderhoef. “And $2 of the $6 for each Goddess To Go bath bomb is given to Janes United Methodist Church.”

For Gambill it was an easy decision to make.

“If I am going to pay for a web store I should help other small businesses,” she reasoned. “I want to add to the local community.”

In true farmer fashion Gambill bartered with a neighbor who is a photographer.

“She took pictures for the farm in exchange for a Thanksgiving turkey and an unlimited supply of eggs,” she said.

All the while the farm has been educating and feeding her family it has also been a form of therapy. Gambill lost her 23-year-old son earlier this year.

“Our animals are an absolute distraction,” she said. “My heart has a piece missing but this is what Nicholas wanted me to do and I think we have a lot more we can do.”

“We’ll have a vegetable garden in the spring,” Gambill added.

Love Run Farm can be found on Facebook. Orders placed in Rising Sun can be delivered for free. A flat $5 is charged to deliver elsewhere.

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Usually the Duncan Allison Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award is given to a specific deserving individual. However, with 2020 being everything but usual, the Chester County Commissioners and the Ag Council decided to give the award to the entire Ag community.

Farmers and producers were recognized corporately for their many food donations and other acts of service to help during the pandemic.

“We usually think of agriculture as Chester County’s top industry for economic reasons but it’s generosity of spirit, especially during tough times, is what makes agriculture the heart of our communities,” said Chester County Ag Council Board Chair Chris Alonzo.

•••

Nominations open Jan. 1 and run through April 1 for the Farmers Grow Rural Education program funded by Bayer. Meanwhile school districts have up to May 1 to get their nomination forms entered.

Almost $2 million is available for use in the classroom in Cecil County public schools. For farmers to nominate the farm itself must be at least 250 acres of active farmland and the farmer making the nomination must be at least 21.

Those schools nominated will be notified and be invited to apply for a grant up to $15,000. The program looks for STEM based programs to bestow its awards.

Schools and school districts can also nominate themselves, however only public and public charter schools may apply.

For more information go to americasfarmers.com

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Targeting historically underserved groups, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service made $250,000 in grants available through the Cultivating Conservation in Maryland and Delaware program operated by the University of Maryland Extension Beginning Farmer program. UME is working in conjunction with University of Delaware Extension for education and outreach.

The program began in August and runs through July 2022. To get more information go to extension.umd.edu

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Colleges and universities serving minority populations including Black Land Grant, Hispanic and Tribal Land Grant have until March 1 to apply for Lincoln Leaders Fellowship Opportunities, a program of the US Department of Agriculture’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

“We launched the Lincoln Leaders Program last year to build off the more than two decades of success of the E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship,” said OPPE Director Mike Beatty. “Today, the need to empower faculty and staff from our partner institutions to develop the next generation of agriculture is more important than ever and we view these three fellowships as vital components of this work.”

OPPE also has the {span}Terra Preta do Indio Tribal Fellowship for faculty at 1994 Tribal Colleges and Universities and the Booker T Washington Fellowship for faculty at 1890 Land Grant Universities.{/span}

For more information and applications go online to usda.gov/partnerships/higher-education-initiatives

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Oh, and if you have any leftover evergreens or pumpkins you can’t sell this winter, consider donating them to Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun. Zoo staff uses these items for both food and enrichment. Call 410-658-6850 for details.

If you have a farm related event, idea or story you’d like to share in AgriCulture contact Jane Bellmyer at jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com or 443-245-5007

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