TIMONIUM — Miss Queen Anne’s County Farm Bureau Bailey Riggs, 17, was named Miss Maryland Agriculture 2018 at the Maryland State Fair Thursday night, Aug. 23.
“I am honored to have been named 2018 Miss Maryland Agriculture. I look forward to the many opportunities ahead to share with others about the importance of agriculture to our state, our nation and the world,” Bailey said in an official statement.
She is the daughter of Bill and Doreen Riggs of Centreville and is a rising senior at Queen Anne’s County High School, where she is the senior class president and a member of the National Honor Society, It’s Academic, the Interact club and served on the prom committee.
As Miss Maryland Agriculture, Bailey will receive scholarship and cash awards valued up to $13,000. She and her court will be present throughout the run of the Maryland State Fair to award prizes and meet with fairgoers, dignitaries and media representatives.
Sunday afternoon, Aug. 26, found her at the mall replenishing her formal wear. Bailey said she wasn’t anticipating winning and needed more professional business attire for her duties at the fair this week.
The girls vying for the title were critiqued during a two-day competition, primarily on their farm/agricultural knowledge and experience, speaking ability, Farm Bureau knowledge and presentation.
“I thought I was doing well in the different portions of the contest,” Bailey said, adding she thought she might make the court. “But I always thought someone did better.”
When they announced the winners, they started with the court — fourth runner-up, third runner-up and so on.When she didn’t hear her name for the court, Bailey said she was telling herself it was OK, that it had still been a good experience, then she heard her name announced as the winner.
“I was crying happy tears,” she said.
After the fair, her responsibilities will continue throughout the year, as she will participate in a number of activities representing Maryland agriculture. Next up is the Maryland Million horse racing event, then the State Farm Bureau Convention; there’s at least one event a month, Bailey said.
Her family had a large farm where they raised hogs and cattle when she was young, but they sold that and now farm just a few acres, growing crops like soybeans and pumpkins, Bailey said.
She has been an active member of 4-H for 10 years and is a member of the Farm to Market 4-H Club and showed swine at this year’s Queen Anne’s County Fair. She, her sisters and cousin each sold a pig at the fair. They have two gilts, or females, remaining and might expand their project and breed them for next year, she said.
In the past, in addition to swine, she has raised and shown market beef cattle, rabbits and chickens.
During the last school year, Bailey served as an Agricultural Awareness Day educator where she instructed seventh-graders about animal science.
Bailey said her agricultural knowledge is well-rounded. “I know a little bit about a lot of things,” she said with a laugh.
“As Miss Maryland Agriculture, my goal would be to just educate the general public,” Bailey said. “So many people don’t understand where their food comes from.”
She said she would like to go to schools and help younger students learn about the importance of agriculture.
Bailey also wants people to know “you don’t have to be a farmer to be in the farm bureau.” For example, she wants to become a physician’s assistant, but she’ll remain a member. It’s for anyone who cares about their food, she said.
In addition to going to school, Bailey works at Councell Farms in Cordova. She also studies dance with Katie Callahan at On Your Toes studio in Denton.
“The purpose of the Miss Maryland Agriculture Program, in partnership with the Maryland State Fair, is to surface young women with an agricultural background to serve as leaders who will promote our agricultural industry and the Farm Bureau organization throughout the year and in the future,” said Miss Maryland Agriculture State Coordinator and Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society Board Member Mary Amoss in a statement.
Previous Miss Maryland Agriculture winners, who where invited back to attend the competition, offered advice and encouragement to this year’s contestants. While the title has changed over the years, from Miss Timonium in the 1940s, Timonium Farm Queen, Farm Queen and Maryland Farm Queen in the 1950s, to Maryland Agriculture Ambassador and Miss Maryland Agriculture in the new millennium, the goal to promote the importance of agriculture has remained the same.
In the 70-plus years the contest has existed, Bailey Riggs is the only third Miss Maryland Agriculture winner from Queen Anne’s County. Jenell Eck of Ingleside won the title in 2015. The first winner from Queen Anne’s County was Ruth Todd back in 1977.