DAVIDSONVILLE — Four of this year’s Mid-Shore farm bureau queens will compete in the 79th annual Miss Maryland Agriculture Contest on Thursday, Aug. 23, in the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds starting at 7:30 p.m. The contest is open to the general public.

The 20 competitors include Kara Hutchison, Talbot County; Bailey Riggs, Queen Anne’s County; Mackenzie Covey, Caroline County; and Grace Brinsfield, Dorchester County.

The Miss Maryland Agriculture program has been a part of the Maryland State Fair since the 1930s, when it was titled the “Miss Timonium Fair.” The mission of the program is to find “young women with an agricultural background to serve as leaders to promote our industry and the Farm Bureau organization throughout the year and in the future.”

Eligible participants of the contest are ladies between the ages of 16 and 19 who are Maryland Farm Bureau members in good standing. Contestants first must be named a Miss at the county level before competing in the state contest.

All contestants attend a three-day orientation program to gain knowledge and expertise that will assist in competition for the title of Miss Maryland Agriculture. They also participate in community service events, such as visiting the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore, and working with the Maryland Food Bank and other organizations in the state throughout the year.

During the Maryland State Fair, the girls will take part in a two-day contest consisting of professional interviews, round-table discussions and an on-stage public speaking contest. They will be judged by out-of-state judges on their agricultural and farm bureau knowledge, personal presentation and speaking ability. Contestants are provided with a variety of opportunities in agricultural education, career preparation and public relations to enhance their agricultural, professional and personal lives.

“The Miss Maryland Agriculture program provides a unique opportunity for young women interested in agriculture to learn more about the industry on a statewide level, while equipping them with the tools and experience they need to be advocates and leaders in the industry. We’re proud to support these young women that represent the next generation of Maryland agriculture,” said Mary Amoss, Miss Maryland Agriculture program coordinator.

To assist the girls with their future education and career plans, scholarships are awarded at the county and state levels.

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