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LSM Executive Program Digs Deep into Southern Maryland Agriculture

Rachel Jones, Maryland Department of Agriculture Director of Government Relations, engages Leadership Southern Maryland participants in an honest conversation about the interdependence of Southern Maryland agriculture and environmental sustainability. Also pictured: JR Cosgrove, LSM ’22, owner, Horsmon Farm and Dr. Tom Miller, professor, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – October 17, 2023 – On October 4, the Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) Executive Program, a 9-month community leadership development experience for local executives, debuted a day-long session on Southern Maryland agriculture.

“Agriculture is, and has always been, central to Southern Maryland’s economy, heritage, and culture,” said LSM Executive Director Sybol Anderson. “LSM brings together leaders who want to understand Southern Maryland better in order to serve Southern Maryland better. By including a focus on agriculture in our curriculum, we added an essential lens on Southern Maryland life that brings our regional identity into clearer view.”

Local and state agriculture specialists Caroline Trossbach (Calvert County Department of Economic Development), Kellie Hinkle (St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development), and Martin Proulx (Maryland Department of Agriculture) opened the session at Calvert Marine Museum with an overview of contemporary issues in agriculture in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties. The group then traveled to the Loveville Produce Auction to participate in local agriculture commerce. At Serenity Farm in Benedict, Md., they learned about the mission of the nonprofit Farming 4 Hunger to serve those in need of fresh food in Southern Maryland and learned lessons in life and leadership with executive director Bernie Fowler, Jr. and his team.

Participants dug deep into intersections of agricultural industry practices and environmental sustainability efforts in an honest conversation about the 2022 Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Report Card with local farmers JR Cosgrove, LSM ‘22 (Horsmon Farm) and Brett Grohsgal (Even’ Star Farm); watermen Capts. Simon and Rachel Dean (Patuxent River Seafood); environmental scientist Dr. Tom Miller (Chesapeake Biological Laboratory); and state government representative Rachel Jones (Maryland Department of Agriculture). The report card is published by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science to provide transparent, detailed assessments of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. In the 2022 assessment, the Chesapeake Watershed scored a C overall, but the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers scored D with trends in water quality not showing improvement. Participants learned about collaborative efforts among watermen, farmers, scientists, and government to protect the watershed, including against new challenges like the invasive blue catfish.

“These conversations and sessions made the connectedness between farmers, sellers, consumers, and the county economy clear,” said Paul Reynolds, Mission Solutions Group Chief Technologist at SMX in California, Md. “It was just not something I had considered in my day-to-day business. Pausing to understand my role and my connection to my community was powerful and will help me engage in better ways.”

Leadership Southern Maryland’s flagship Executive Program is an interactive and life-enriching nine-month, tuition-based “behind-the-scenes” experience designed to enhance the collaborative abilities of our region’s top senior professionals. LSM welcomes mid- to upper-level executives representing diverse geographic locations, industries, professions, ethnicities, genders, and other backgrounds who are committed to addressing the community needs of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties.