Garrett County Government - Department of Business Development

Maryland Secretary of Agriculture and Team Visits Garrett Farmers

Last Updated on Jun 7, 2023 at 9:26am | Agribusiness

Maryland Secretary of Agriculture, Kevin Atticks, visited Garrett County last week to show support for local farmers and to help showcase the crucial role of agriculture in the county and state economies.
Joining Secretary Atticks on the visits to Garrett County farms was Steve Connelly, Maryland Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Hans Schmidt, Assistant Secretary of Conservation Resource, Cassie Shirk, Assistant Secretary of Marketing, Animal Industries and Consumer Services, Rachel Jones, MDA Government Relations Director, Jessica Hackett, MDA Director of Communications, Paul Custer, Garrett County Farm Bureau President, Stephen Kelley, Garrett County Government Director of Planning and Community Development and Melissa Bolyard, Garrett County Agriculture Business Specialist.
The visit commenced with a tour to several key locations throughout Garrett County, including Grandma's Jam House in Grantsville, followed by a visit to FireFly Cheese Market where the group enjoyed lunch in Accident. Then the tour continued with stops at Harding's Wild Mountain Herbs & Ginseng Farm, Kenton and Holly Bender’s Oakview Ridge Dairy Farm, and Garrett Growers, Inc. at A.L.L Produce.
To conclude the day, a dinner sponsored by the Garrett County Commissioners was held, which brought together 43 local farm business owners, along with selected dignitaries. Among the notable attendees were Former Senator George Edwards, Delegate Jim Hinebaugh, Commissioner Paul Edwards, and Commissioner Larry Tichnell. The dinner took place at Ace's Run Restaurant, featuring a menu crafted with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients from area farms. Following the meal, attendees had the opportunity to engage in a Q&A session with the Secretary, addressing questions and concerns related to the agricultural industry.
"Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Atticks' visit to Garrett County highlights the importance of supporting local farmers and promoting sustainable agriculture,” said Melissa Bolyard, Agriculture Business Specialist for the Garrett County Department of Business Development. “It's great to see the state government taking an active interest in the growth and development of our rural agricultural communities.”
The agriculture business specialist seeks ways to promote the long-term economic viability of businesses in targeted sectors to include agriculture, forestry and other natural resource-based businesses as assigned or needed) in Garrett County. To contact Melissa, please email [email protected] or call 301-334-7285.

Photo Caption (left to right): Rachel Jones- MDA Government Relations Director, Stephen Kelley – Garrett County Government Director of Planning and Community Development, Jessica Hackett- MDA Director of Communications, Paul Custer – Garrett County Farm Bureau President, Davis Bender – Kenton Bender’s Son, Carl Bender – Kenton Bender’s Father, Martha Bender – Kenton Bender’s Mother, Alex Bender - Kenton Bender’s Son, Kevin Atticks- Maryland Secretary of Agriculture, Hans Schmidt- Assistant Secretary of Conservation Resource, Melissa Bolyard – Garrett County Agriculture Business Specialist, Willie Lantz – Garrett County Extension Agent, and Steve Connelly- Maryland Deputy Secretary of Agriculture