2022 Farm Family, Ag Business, Ag Advocate and Young Farmer of the Year

Farm Family of the Year: Glade Haven Farm

Glade Haven Farms is a diversified dairy, crop and custom harvesting operation located in Walkersville. The farm is owned and operated by father/son duo David and Josh Roderick along with their families and employees.

The farm was purchased in 1965 by David’s parents, Harold and Madeline Roderick, who started the dairy operation on the 275-acre homestead. David became a partner in the family business 15 years later. Josh cultivated a passion for equipment operation and mechanics at a young age. He rode alongside his father until he was able to drive a tractor by himself, and in 2000 joined his father as a partner on the farm.

The father and son farm, approximately 1,250 acres (375 of which is owned), thrives growing corn, soybeans, alfalfa, rye, and mixed hay for feed for their animals as well as cash crops for another source of income. The family milks just under 300 Holstein and Jersey dairy cows with their milk being shipped through Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association. To further diversify their farm operation they added a custom harvesting business providing services to other farmers in the community.

Also involved in this family operation are David’s daughter, Jichaela Cushall and son in law Nick, Kelcie Degenfelder, 8 full time employees, including Devin Green, Tommy Garst. David has four other children Jacquelyn, Jessica, Johanna and Julie who all have some involvement in the industry. David’s greatest joy is watching his grandchildren grow up on the farm.

Ag Business of The Year: Shuff’s Meat Market

Shuff’s Meat Market in Thurmont, currently owned by Robin Shuff, began in the early 1950’s by her father, Harry William Shuff Sr. Throughout the winters during Shuff’s Meats early stages, Mr. Shuff would travel around to local farms and slaughter on site in the farmer’s barn. He and his wife, Betty Jane opened the market, which is now operated by their daughter, Robin. In 1984 Mr. Shuff was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and succumbed to the terrible disease the next year following a short battle. Robin joined the business with her mother in 1996 and has been managing Shuff’s Meat Market ever since.

Robin described Shuff’s Meat Market as a family. She is grateful for the 12 employees that keep the business running smoothly. George Bowman is her partner and the vice president helping her to manage day-to-day operations. Pointing out that processing meat is not for the faint of heart, and Robin gives credit to the men doing the most laborious and crucial tasks including Brandon Beechum, Kyle Roberts and Ross Strayer. Shuff’s Meat Market is open to the public for retail sales Thursday-Saturday. The other days of the week staff work diligently to process the animals and meats. Currently they slaughter about 10-12 beef Monday and Thursday and 30 hogs on Tuesday.

Ag Advocate of the Year: Dr. Ray Edigar

Dr. Ray Edigar brings lifelong devotion to agriculture. He graduated from Washington State University in 1961 with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Over the years, he has dedicated countless hours to mentoring the development of agriculture in our youth specifically through the 4-H and FFA programs. It is his joy to work with the respectful, responsible young people he has the pleasure of mentoring. He is a strong advocate for encouraging the next generation to obtain a career in agriculture.

Dr. Edigar has been an active member and has held numerous leadership positions within the Frederick County Farm Bureau and Frederick Soil Conservation District. The accolades he has received are endless but include the 2012 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award through the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association for outstanding leadership and service, the 2006 Maryland Most Beautiful People Award for outstanding volunteer work in the community, 4-H, church and other organizations, and University of Maryland Extension recognized Dr. Edigar for his service to Extension. Frederick County has been fortunate to have Dr. Edigar as an agricultural advocate, educator and mentor throughout the years.

Young Farmer of the Year: Ben and Kate Sowers

Our Young Farmers of the year are the second-generation, owners of South Mountain Creamery Ben and Kate Sowers. In 2001, South Mountain Creamery in Middletown became Maryland’s first on-farm milk processing facility when Randy and Karen Sowers diversified their dairy farm operation establishing a niche market to begin on-farm milk processing and delivery. Today, South Mountain Creamery has become one of the most well-known dairy farms operations in the DMV.

Ben and Kate became part owners of South Mountain Creamery in 2017. The pair own and operate the business with Ben’s sister Abby and her husband Tony. Over the years, the operation has expanded significantly. Ben and Kate currently manage 3000 acres of cropland, milk approximately 500 Holstein and Jersey dairy cows, raise a herd of 150 head of beef cattle and a flock of 17,000 laying hens. South Mountain Creamery operates two processing facilities, one on the home farm in Middletown, the other in Chambersburg, PA.  They also have a downtown Frederick Ice Cream and newly added Pizza shop! Between all locations, South Mountain Creamery employs roughly 165 individuals. While the owners collaborate within all aspects of the business, each member has specific areas of focus.