Karen Nicklas: Top Young Ag Professional

Each year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) partners with Frederick Magazine for Frederick’s Top 50 publication. The 2022 issue, released in January, features Frederick’s Top 50 Under 40. Homegrown Frederick wanted to take a similar approach and highlight the young entrepreneurs and leaders in the agriculture and craft beverage industries. The Homegrown Frederick magazine, released June 1, announces Frederick County’s Top Young Agricultural Professionals. Each week we will be highlighting these individuals so you can get to know them better.

Karen Nicklas, 30, is named as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. Growing up as a dairy farmer’s daughter, she developed an appreciation and love for agriculture at an early age. Some of her most fond memories are from the days of milking cows alongside her father. That passion for farming led her to promoting the local agriculture industry and the hardworking individuals involved. 

Karen currently works as the General Manager for The Great Frederick Fair. She began her career with The Great Frederick Fair in 2013 and held various positions until being appointed General Manager in 2019. Karen’s current roll involves all aspects of the annual fair including animal showing, youth programming, educational exhibits, carnival, entertainment, security, parking and more. She is continuing her family’s legacy of service to the fair; her grandfather served on the fair board for 42 years, and her uncle in on the board now. In her role as the GM, she lives out her dream of working with all kinds of ag professionals. She is proud to help the fair continue to stay relevant while staying true to its mission of advocating for and educating the public about agriculture in Frederick County. In 2020, fair activities had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but The Great Frederick Fair was able to pivot and hold a Youth Livestock Show that was broadcast to viewers via social media. Then in 2021, “The Fair continued with the momentum and dedication to the youth in Frederick County by taking ownership and leadership managing all aspects of the 4-H/FFA shows,” Karen said. She is proud to be part of a team that overcomes adversity and gets creative to find ways to help develop local youth.

Earlier this year, Karen was also included in the Frederick County Office of Economic Development’s Top 50 Under 40 publication. Karen attributes her success to gratitude. She says, “I am genuinely thankful to be a part of the agricultural community in Frederick County and am blessed to have found my dream job with a great team. I think it is important to understand how valuable each team member is and trusting their contributions helps us all work cooperatively and achieve success.” Karen is also involved in a number of community organizations. As a member of the Frederick County Farm Bureau, she serves on the Safety Camp Planning Committee. She was appointed by the Governor to serve on both the Maryland Amusement Ride Safety Advisory Board and the Maryland State Showman’s League Association.

Karen is described by her colleagues as, “a professional, positive, outgoing young agriculture leader.” “There truly isn’t anyone who is more dedicated to agriculture. She has a work ethic that is unmatched and she leads by example.” We are proud to honor Karen as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. The full list can be found here. It is safe to say the local agricultural industry has a bright future ahead with young leaders like her at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Karen on this well-deserved accolade!