Orr Family Honored With 2020 Master Farmer Award | Newspaper

MARTINSBURG – A year and a half after being announced as recipients of the 2020 Master Farmer Award, Mark and Mike Orr were officially recognized at the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers Banquet on Thursday.

Known as the highest honor in the farming community, the 2020 Master Farmer Award went to a select few in the Mid-Atlantic region, including the Orr brothers. The winners in 2020 were from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and were ultimately recognized at the banquet, which has been repeatedly postponed due to COVID-19.

According to the Farm Progress webpage, the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers is the oldest and most prestigious agricultural honors program in the United States.

“It germinated in 1927 as part of a Master Farmers of America program aimed at fostering stewardship and leadership. At this point, the program was started by ‘Pennsylvania Farmer’ magazine and the USDA, ”the website says. Award of Excellence in Agriculture which recognizes exemplary models of exceptional management, land stewardship and community leadership. Candidates are nominated by individuals and organizations. Once appointed, applicants are given application forms to fill out. “

Mark Orr’s daughter Katy Orr-Dove said winning the award with her brother was a big achievement for her late father, who died in October 2020.

“The Master Farmer Award was a great achievement for my father, Mark Orr. He has received numerous awards over the years for his agricultural expertise, but he was especially proud of this award because of all the references that his friends, colleagues and fellow growers and business partners had submitted for him and his brother, Mike. Every time someone mentioned the prize, their face lit up with pride. It’s hard for me to say what that means to me, especially since we lost him last year suddenly, ”Orr-Dove said of his father. “It gives me great joy that he was able to receive this award, alongside his brother Mike, while he was still here on this earth. I consider it a blessing to have been able to see him on the farm and also to see how he handled the changes and challenges throughout his life. Our whole family is so proud of his heritage and the vision of our farm that he left us to continue in his honor.

Orr’s Farm Market official website states that George S. Orr, Jr. began growing fruit on a 60-acre orchard in West Virginia in 1954. The website states that in 1979 the orchard reached 350 acres with the help of his family. Since then the farm has only grown and is now a well-known business in the community and in the agricultural industry.

Orr brothers Mark and Mike completed the first stage of an agricultural transition process in 2018, forming two businesses: Orr’s Farm Market and Appalachian Orchard Company.

Julie Ann Bolyard, Mike Orr’s daughter, is the current CFO and Food Safety Plan Administrator at Appalachian Orchard Company, as well as a board member for Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit.

“Mike Orr is my father. I have spent my life working alongside my father and uncle Mark. The two men who received this award would never have applied for it on their own behalf. They are both humble individuals who do not promote themselves; That being said, I don’t think the price has directly affected current families or businesses as they are today, ”Bolyard said previously. “I believe that my generation, and those that will follow, will always admire these two master farmers and aspire to continue their legacy by leading families and businesses to future success. “

“Appalachian Orchard Company is a family business steeped in history and tradition with an updated face and a young, progressive management team guided by orchard and longtime owner Michael Orr,” according to the official Appalachian webpage. Orchard. “The sixth generation is watching and learning, and everyone at Appalachian Orchard Company is excited about their future in the fruit industry.”

Orr-Dove and Bolyard said George S. Orr, Jr. would be proud of what the family has accomplished so far, but there are still plenty of goals on the horizon.

“Past generations have left a legacy of determination, innovation, quality and competition that will not be forgotten,” says the Orr website.

For more information on the history of the companies, visit www.appalachianorchard.com and www.orrsfarmmarket.com.

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