Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder has appointed Hans Schmidt to Assistant Secretary of Resource Conservation, effective December 2. He will replace Royden Powell who retired on November 30 after serving MDA for more than 20 years in various capacities.
“We are very pleased to announce this appointment,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Hans’ expertise and accomplishments in resource conservation will be invaluable as we move forward with implementing programs that protect both our famers and our natural resources.”
Prior to this appointment, Schmidt has operated his family farm with his brother Alan where he was responsible for sustainability, conservation and agronomics. Their 2,100 acre farm is certified through the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program (FSCAP).
They till about 1,800 acres and have several hundred acres of woodland and more than 120 acres in conservation. In addition to his duties at Schmidt Farms Inc., Schmidt has served in leadership roles for several agriculture groups including Maryland Association of Conservation Districts, Maryland Soybean Board and State Soil Conservation Committee. In 2008, Schmidt Farms Inc was inducted into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame and was selected as a national finalist in the Farm Journal Top Producer Award.
“I am honored and excited to take on this new opportunity,” said Schmidt. “I look forward to using my knowledge and experience to further the administration’s priorities and make sure our farmers have the resources they need to maintain responsible conservation plans.”
As Assistant Secretary, Schmidt will coordinate and manage the development and delivery of the agency’s soil and water conservation programs, which have been among the most high profile since the Bay restoration efforts escalated more than two decades ago. He also oversees the administration of regulatory and technical and financial assistance programs that help Maryland’s farmers implement sound conservation practices, maintain productive farmland, and protect valuable natural resources.