The Great Frederick Fair began with the selection of the Jim and Louise Stup Family as the 2014 Farm Family of the Year. The Stup’s family farm, Teabow Farms, in Walkersville encompasses 980 acres of Glade Valley. The farm is a dairy operation with over 2,250 cows. Each cow annually provides an average of 25,359 pounds of milk.
Teabow Farms began in 1965 with eighty cows on Glade Road. In 2000, the farm began to grow tremendously. The farm’s herd grew to its current size which requires three tankers to haul milk to processors every two days. They employee over a dozen farm hands.
Not everyone in the Glade Valley community celebrates the farm. Many blame the farm for the putrid odors that permeate the area on a regular basis. “The odor is worse than manure. It’s just plain disgusting,” said one neighbor. Another woman stated, “we cannot put out our laundry to dry or open our windows.” “They have ruined our wells. We have to buy water because of the well contamination,” complained another.
Teabow Farms imports waste from municipal water treatment facilities and turkey processing plants to fertilize crops with their own manure. The companies hauling the waste from out of state help pay for the storage tanks and the spreading of manure according to folks at one meeting held by concerned neighbors. A representative from the Maryland Department of Agriculture told attendees that the farm was within its rights and odor complaints would have to be heard by the Maryland Department of Environment.
Burst pipes from the storage tanks for the waste materials sent over 570,000 gallons of waste into Glade Creek in January of 2008. The Town of Walkersville issued boil water advisories for weeks. Many businesses had to close for weeks. Some residents with health conditions had water hauled to their homes. Frederick County provided temporary hook-ups to their water supply, and billed Walkersville $287,000 for their response to the accident.
The Stull Family apologized for the accident and offered remedy to the Town of Walkersville. The Town has stated on the record that Teabow Farms is a good neighbor, and they continue to support farmers’ rights to farm.
After almost fifty years in agriculture, the Stull Family has seen a lot of change and kept up with many changes. From falling milk prices to rising grain costs, they continue to adapt their operations to continue to make a living doing what they love, dairy farming.
The Agricultural Business Council, The Great Frederick Fair, and the Ag Education PR Committee select a farm family each year to recognize their accomplishments and contributions to agriculture in Frederick County.