College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

Have Questions About Agriculture? Simply “Ask-A-Farmer”!

Becky Jones
Farmer-panelist and students at Ask the Farmer event

Sustainable food production and animal welfare were just two of the many topics covered during the “Ask-A-Farmer” panel discussion organized by the Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter at the University of Maryland on March 27, 2018 in the Stamp Student Union. The event brought five Maryland farmers to the College Park campus to answer pressing questions that University of Maryland students had regarding the agriculture industry.

Institute of Applied Agriculture students were actively involved in both organizing and attending the panel discussion. Participants had the opportunity to ask farmers specific questions pertaining to the industry and how it works. The objectives of the event were to connect students to Maryland farmers, discuss hot topics in agriculture, and correct common misconceptions regarding food production practices.

The five farmer-panelists represented the diverse agricultural industry in Maryland. David Hancock of Hancock Family Farms is a grain, produce, and livestock farmer from Southern Maryland. Amanda Heilman of DuPont Pioneer sells hybrid seed in the Lower Eastern Shore. Ariel Taxdal of Brooms Bloom Farm is a ninth generation dairy farmer from Harford County. Kayla Griffith of Griffith Family Produce is a fifth generation produce farmer from Anne Arundel County. Finally, Alan Eck of Mae Vue Farm is a poultry and grain farmer from the Eastern Shore. All shared their insights and experiences related to safe food production, long-term sustainability, and the regulatory environment in agriculture.

“The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is very small in comparison to the University of Maryland as a whole,” explained Emily Solis, senior Animal Science major and Collegiate Farm Bureau member. “Seated in such an urban area, many of the students on campus are not familiar with food production and modern-day agriculture. This event allowed the campus community to hear from the individuals responsible for putting food on their tables.”

“Events like this allow the public to have a direct dialogue with farmers that grow their food,” said Parker Welch, Maryland Farm Bureau staff member and moderator of the panel discussion. “It is crucial in bridging the gap between consumers and producers, and I was extremely proud to be a part of it and witness the great dialogue that happened.”

Launched in Fall 2016, the Collegiate Farm Bureau at the University of Maryland strives to educate and advocate for agriculture. To learn more about the chapter, email

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