Two Sussex County farmers with long records of leadership in First State agriculture have been honored for their service and contributions with the Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service to Delaware Agriculture.
Laura Hill of Lewes and Barbara Sapp of Milton are the first women to receive the award, presented by Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee at the Delaware Agricultural Industry Dinner held Jan. 23.
Hill, a grain, vegetable and poultry grower, serves as second vice president of the Delaware Farm Bureau and as a member of the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission. Sapp is a grain and vegetable farmer who has been a member of the Delaware Farm Bureau since 1964 and is a past member of the Nutrient Management Commission.
“Laura Hill and Barbara Sapp are two of the most outstanding leaders in First State farming we have today,” Kee said. “Both have served their communities and state with great distinction as part of the Delaware Farm Bureau and representing agriculture on the Nutrient Management Commission. Their hard work and dedication to promoting and advancing agriculture are without peer.”
Gov. Jack Markell praised their contributions to farming. “Agriculture is a critically important part of Delaware’s economy, and no one has carried that message forward more than Laura Hill and Barbara Sapp,” Markell said. “Their deep community involvement and leadership deserve our thanks and praise.”
Hill owns and operates the 2,500-acre Deerfield Farm along with her husband, Roland, and sons Roland III and Jerad; their daughter, Jamie, resides in Pennsylvania and holds an agriculture degree from Delaware Valley College. They grow grain and vegetables and also operate a 105,000-capacity poultry farm, Roland Hill Poultry Farm, growing for Mountaire Farms. Hill has served on the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission since 2009, representing Sussex County poultry farmers. A farm bureau member since 1977 and a longtime 4-H volunteer, she was the first woman to be elected as a Delaware Farm Bureau officer, in 2012. She has previously served as Sussex County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Chair, and also serves as chair of the Delaware Farm Bureau Food Booth and Legislative committees and on the Delaware Farm Bureau Executive Committee.
Sapp grew up on a poultry farm and now grows peas, lima beans, wheat, barley, corn and soybeans with her husband, Richard Sapp Sr., son Richard Jr., daughter-in-law Michele and grandson Richard III. She has served the Delaware Farm Bureau as Sussex County Women’s Committee Chair, State Women’s Committee Chair, and as a director of both the Sussex County and state farm bureaus. She is vice chair of the bureau's Food Booth Committee, serves on the Ag Literacy Committee, and is a past member of the Legislative Committee. She is a former member of the Nutrient Management Commission, having been appointed by former Gov. Thomas R. Carper.