Fifth annual award honoring agricultural heritage and farm families in Washington County
Hagerstown, Md. (October 6, 2015) – The Washington County Department of Business Development, Agricultural Business Development is pleased to announce Larkspur Lane Farm, located in Hagerstown, Maryland, as the recipient of the 2015 Washington County Maryland Farm of the Year award.
In business since 2005, Larkspur Lane Farm is the only farm in Washington County responsible for breeding Old Line Soays – a rare breed of British Soay Sheep. The farm also produces chicken eggs and turkeys while serving as home to the Brave HEART Program created by owners Jeffrey and Laura Unsworth.
“The Unsworth’s dedication to genetics and careful breeding of this ancient, Scottish sheep breed shows their commitment and passion to increasing numbers in the US,” said Leslie Hart, agricultural business development specialist with the Department of Business Development. “The Unsworths commitment and passion also travels another path with The Brave HEART program and we’re proud to recognize the way they are giving back to our returning soldiers and providing them with opportunities to reconnect with their families.”
A 501(c)3 non-profit, Brave HEART (Heroes Equine Adventure & Riding Therapy) hosts Wounded Warrior families for tailored farm visits. These visits allow veterans, military members and those connected to them a chance to facilitate healing and strengthen relationships through equine adventure, riding therapy and outdoor activities.
The farm also sells lambs and small starter flocks in addition to raw wool used by hand spinners that want to experience materials from a rare breed of sheep. Sheep at Larkspur also serve as grazers helping to maintain grassy areas reducing operation costs through the use of portable net fencing.
In the future, the Larkspur plans to build a larger, wheel chair accessible barn and expand the riding ring to provide a wider variety of therapeutic activities to Wounded Warriors and their families.
As this year’s winner, Larkspur Lane Farm will receive a portrait/video session, plaque, an outdoor farm sign recognizing their accomplishment and a plaque posted in the Washington County Agriculture Education Center lobby for the duration of the year.
To be eligible for this award, the principal farm operator/owner must be in business for a minimum of five years and be on at least five acres of agriculturally zoned land and primarily located in Washington County. Winning farms showcase excellence in agriculture and promote a greater understanding of the challenges faced by today’s farmers. Numerous criteria are judged including production, conservation, preservation, community involvement, and dedication to farming and agriculture.
For those in the agriculture community interested in more information contact Leslie Hart, Agricultural Business Development Specialist at: 301-432-4782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.