farm and land
F E O F G I V I N G TO I L A
agriculture “FAMILY FOR ME IS THE MOST IMPORTANT. I COULD NOT DO ALL THAT I DO IF IT WASN’T FOR MY FAMILY,” SAYS JENNY RHODES, WHOSE ENTIRE
N TO T H E F U T
FAMILY LIVES NEARBY. HER SON CHRIS FARMS AND RAISES CHICKENS FOR
GI N I Y L
PERDUE; HE AND HIS WIFE SHANNON
HAVE TWO SONS, HUNTER AND COLE, AND A NEW DAUGHTER, AUDREY. HER SON RYAN GROWS FOR ALLEN HARIM AND ASSISTS IN HIS MOM’S CHICKEN OPERATION; HE AND HIS
WIFE RACHEL HAVE A SON OLIVER AND ARE EXPECTING A NEW ADDITION.
U LT C I R
URAL LEADE RSH IP
shifting economic megatrends
JENNY’S PARENTS, TEMPLE AND PAT RHODES, OPERATE CHESTNUT VALE FARM LANE FARM.
STORY BY NANCY L. SMITH | PHOTOS BY REMSBERG, INC. AND NANCY L. SMITH | “IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT AGRICULTURE,”
SAYS JENNY RHODES, CURRENT CHAIR OF THE MIDATLANTIC FARM CREDIT BOARD OF DIRECTORS. REFERRING TO HER MANY ROLES IN MARYLAND AGRICULTURE, JENNY COULD HAVE ALSO BEEN DESCRIBING HER ENTIRE LIFE—EMPHASIZING AGRICULTURE FROM HER CHILDHOOD TO HER CURRENT FULL PLATE OF ACTIVITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
Jenny was active in 4-H and FFA at a time when young women were uncommon in the industry. She received a business degree from Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Maryland. “Later, when I was running a farm, taking care of children, and working for Extension, I went back to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and got my degree in agriculture and my masters in extension education.” Jenny has been growing chickens for 31 years and currently grows about a half million birds a year for Allen Harim. She also operates a 100 acre irrigated grain farm. 8
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She has been on the Delmarva Poultry Industry board for many years, serving as President in 2012 and currently serves on the executive committee. In 1997, she joined Queen Anne’s County Extension. Now as a senior agent, “I focus on agronomy, poultry, and risk management, and under that comes women in agriculture.” Jenny is proud of Annie’s Project, an Extension program created to empower women in agriculture to develop networks and skills. In 2006 she graduated from LEAD Maryland. LEAD Maryland fellowships focus on public issues, education, skills building, and leadership development.
“4-H and FFA were a foundation, but it was LEAD Maryland that pushed me to the next step of leadership,” says Jenny. “My class went to China. There is hardly a day that goes by when we don’t talk about China or trade with China, so being able to be there and see the way they farm and the government, I think it all ties back to really making me a better board member.” In 2008, she was recruited to run for the Farm Credit board. “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a pretty big honor.’ I was pretty humbled by that. “Part of being in LEAD Maryland is