Students in Queen Anne's County experience Maryland's #1 industry

Seventh graders in Queen Anne's County participated in Agriculture Awareness Day, an annual event to provide educational experiences that teach students about the importance of the farming industry.

April 15, 2024

As our population continues to grow, agriculture is crucial for our survival, and the University of Maryland Extension (UME) team is dedicated to teaching the next generation of Marylanders the importance of the state's top industry. The 7th-grade students of Queen Anne’s County Public Schools participated in a once in a lifetime educational experience to learn about Maryland agriculture that included a coalition of agricultural educators, professionals and youth involved in 4-H and FFA, who joined together to host the 7th annual Agriculture Awareness Days, an annual event that included Stevensville, Matapeake, Centreville, and Sudlersville Middle Schools.

Educating the youth on agriculture and careers is a vital component of ensuring the long-term viability of the agriculture industry," said Jenny Rhodes, Principal Agricultural Agent with UME in Queen Anne's County. "With Agriculture Awareness Day, our goal is to expose the 7th graders in Queen Anne’s County to many facets of agriculture and the potential career options available to them."

Held on April 9 and 10, 2024, the program utilizes the Next Generation Science Standards and Maryland Environmental Literacy Standards providing the 7th graders with activities that introduced them to agricultural activities and career opportunities by visiting various educational stations throughout the day. Local educators facilitated these stations and interacted with students to provide awareness on the diversity of agriculture on the Delmarva Peninsula during the event, which was held at the Queen Anne's County 4-H Park.

"This year we added an interactive career fair, which was well utilized by the students," said Rhodes. Students were given the opportunity to discover the various facets of farming and agriculture, getting to meet farm animals like cattle, horses, and sheep, and learning about the equipment needed for produce or grain farming. Stations covered agriculture’s ever-changing technology, food safety, pollinators, aquaculture, animal production, career opportunities and grains grown in the county and their uses. 

We are so thankful for the incredible partnership with the University of Maryland Extension. Without this partnership, this incredible program would not be possible," said Dr. Patty Saelens, Queen Anne's County Superintendent of Schools. "It is so appreciated that each year time is spent to assess each activity and refine each station. This year, the addition of the Career Fair was a huge hit! The experiences students engaged in were invaluable.”  

“The Agriculture Awareness Day is an event that really connects our kids in the county with our strong agriculture community. They see so much agriculture around them every day in Queen Anne's County and it is exciting to be able to have this event to connect them to that diverse agriculture right in their backyards," said Jessica Clarke, a Crop Insurance Agent with Horizon Farm Credit. 

"The University of Maryland Extension educators from throughout Maryland came together to support this program and initiative," Rhodes said. "It’s wonderful to see our community come together for a common goal.” 

The event was made possible through the dedication of over 80 volunteers from the Queen Anne's County community, as well as a host of local sponsors: 

  • Horizon Farm Credit
  • Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board
  • Maryland Soybean Board
  • Queen Anne’s County Board of Education
  • Queen Anne’s County Farm Bureau
    The QAC Ag Awareness event team 2024
    Agriculture Awareness Day committee, from left: Michael Page, Supervisor of Instruction, QAC Public School, Jenny Rhodes, AgFS Principal Agent, UME QAC, Jessica Clarke, Crop Insurance Agent, Horizon Farm Credit, Jenell Eck McHenry, Public Relations & Program Director, MD Grain Producers, Brain Stokes, FFA Advisor, Ag Teacher, QAC Public School.
  • Queen Anne’s Soil Conservation District
  • University of Maryland Extension
  • University of Maryland Wye Research and Education Center
  • A Sure Bet Farm 
  • Arnold Farms
  • Atlantic Tractor
  • Bright Star Farm
  • Choptank Electric
  • Catoctin Mountain Orchard
  • Delmarva Chicken Association 
  • Edwin Remsberg Photographs
  • Farm to Market 4-H Club
  • Growmark FS
  • Higgs Highland Cattle
  • Hoober
  • Humble Hearts Catering & Events
  • King Show Lambs
  • Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, Inc.
  • Maryland Dairy Princess Association
  • Maryland Department of Agriculture
  • Maryland Farm Bureau
  • Maryland Sea Grant
  • Maryland State FFA
  • Mike & Jill Cohey
  • Mountaire Farms
  • Nagel Crop Insurance
  • National Chicken Council
  • PepUp, Inc.
  • Pony Express 4-H Club
  • QACTV – Queen Anne’s County Television
  • Queen Anne’s County 4-Her’s
  • Queen Anne’s County 4-H All Stars
  • Queen Anne’s County Commissioners
  • Queen Anne’s County Economic Development 
  • Queen Anne’s County Government
  • Queen Anne's County High School FFA members
  • Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners
  • Queenstown Lions Club
  • Shear Joy Acres
  • Sheubrooks Family Farms
  • Shore United Bank
  • Stony Knoll Farm
  • Sudlersville Ruritan
  • The Mill of Kingstown
  • Tidewater Seed
  • Tomahawk Farms
  • USDA Farm Service Agency
  • University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Horn Point
  • Wheaton Show Pigs

To learn more about UME programs in Queen Anne's County, go to