Two of Frederick County’s top businesses and one of its prized farming advocates were honored Friday at The Great Frederick Fair for their longtime contributions to the county’s agricultural community.
The awards were presented by Frederick County’s Agricultural Business Council, in conjunction with The Great Frederick Fair and the Ag Press Relations Committee.
The Mehrl Mayne family, owner of Mayne’s Tree Farm in Buckeystown, was awarded the 2015 Farm Family of the Year Award. Denny Remsburg, manager for the Catoctin and Frederick Soil Conservation District, was named Agricultural Advocate of the Year, and H.C. Summers Feed and Supply, owned by the Summers family, was named the Agricultural Business of the Year.
Winners were decided by a council made up of local farmers, agri-business owners and community members.
“All of our winners have shown a proud dedication to agriculture in our county,” said Katie Albaugh, business development specialist for agriculture for Frederick County. “Our county is a better place because of their contributions.”
Mayne’s life in agriculture began when his father purchased the family farm in October 1955 on the courthouse steps in Frederick.
The farm originally served as a dairy farm before harvesting its first Christmas trees in 1977. Mehrl rented the farm from his father for 10 years before finally purchasing it outright in 2000.
Today, the farm holds 190 acres. Fifty acres are dedicated to the Maynes’ famous Christmas trees, but they also grow corn, pumpkins, strawberries, soybeans and asparagus.
The family still does most of the farm’s day-to-day work. Mayne’s son Jason is responsible for repairing and maintaining the farm’s machinery. His daughter Leanne runs social media, and his fiancee, Julie Spencer, heads the farm’s customer relations.
“This has been a tough few years,” Mayne said when receiving the award, referring to his father’s death in May of this year. “It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around. This is proof of that.”
Mayne serves on the board of the Frederick County Farm Bureau and the Maryland, Pennsylvania and National Christmas Tree Association. He’s also an active member of the Downtown Frederick Partnership and a board member at Buckeystown United Methodist Church.
Denny Remsburg was awarded the 2015 Agricultural Advocate Award. Born and raised in Frederick, Remsburg took his first step in agriculture working on his family’s 120-acre dairy farm. He received a degree from Virginia Technical Institute in agricultural economics in 1974.
He currently serves as manager for the Catoctin and Frederick Soil Conservation District, where he promotes best farm management practices as well as crop rotation and preservation of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Summers family has been in business in Frederick County for more than 100 years. In 1907, L.E. Summers began selling farm machinery, as well as feed, fertilizer and seeds under the stewardship of Lewis E. Summers.
The business moved from Lewis E. Summers to H.E. Summers in 1920. Today, the store is on its fourth generation, run by brothers Mike, Mark, Tom and Jim. Tom’s son Will works full time at the store, and his daughter Mandy Schmidt works part time.
H.C. Summers now sells feed, pet and farm supplies, and lawn and gardening equipment.
In July 2008, the business was struck by arson, and more than 90 percent of the building was destroyed. Through the help of the surrounding community, temporary trailers were bought and the business reopened after three days.
After 18 months of rebuilding, the store opened in a new building in December 2010.
“I really couldn’t be here without the community,” Tom Summers said. “I really wasn’t sure when they asked me whether I wanted to do this. I’m not really that type of guy. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought this is a way to show my gratitude.”
After the awards ceremony, the new king and queen of Frederick County 4-H Club were pronounced. Chase Ferguson, of the Johnsville 4-H Club, was crowned the 2015 king, and Rachel Summers, of the Calico Clovers in Jefferson, was crowned queen.
Nearly 20 club members received Character Counts recognition for their achievements.