Wilcoms are Frederick County farm family of the year
By CARYL VELISEK
FREDERICK, Md. — Evelyn Wilcom readily admits ag education is her passion. Recently, at the 2011 Great Frederick Fair, her family, the Mike Wilcom Family of Monrovia, Md., was recognized and honored as the Farm Family of the Year during the Great Frederick Fair on Sept. 17.
“I believe if we approach it from the Elementary School level, the parents will come and learn with their children,” Wilcom said.
“We recently put five ag books in 17 of the 38 elementary schools in the county by getting grants, and we have applied to put five more books in to meet our goal of ten,” she added.
One of the books is about the United States’ first president, “Farmer George Plants The Nation.” The book chronicles his love of farming and his many contributions to agriculture.
“We always need money for these projects and we work with various organizations including the Maryland Geographic Alliance,” Wilcom said.
Wilcom was recently recognized as a 51-year member with Farm Bureau and has been a long time member of the New Market Grange.
But her main activities, besides her family and the farm have long been with ag education. She was chairman of the Maryland Farm Bureau Women for four years.
She is Frederick Farm Bureau Chair of the Education Committee and works with the county schools with their ag education program and is on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Agriculture Education Foundation.
Wilcom is active during The Great Frederick Fair in September, where she does demonstrations of churning butter, passes out ag information and dairy items to children and their parents, helps make bookmarks, hosts pumpkin painting and Middletown FFA puppet shows.
She also is involved with a scavenger hunt, handing out backpacks and encouraging them to look for educational items and information around the fair and at the fair's many learning stations.
Her husband, Mike Wilcom, who died in 2008, was born on a dairy farm in Ijamsville, Md., one of seven children of Charles and Catherine Wilcom.
In 1945, the family purchased and moved to a farm in Monrovia where Mike grew up and, subsequently raised his family.
He and Evelyn were married in 1958 and she, soon after, graduated from Frederick Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. They had three sons, Mike Jr., Mark and Chris.
“Mike loved farming and he passed on his passion for it to his boys,” Wilcom said. “He farmed because he loved it.”
Mike, Jr., died in 1993 in the line of duty with the New Market Fire Company.
Mark, is the chief herdsman, and has a son, Joshua, and a stepson, Corey Wilson, both of whom help out when needed.
The youngest son, Chris, is in charge of fieldwork and maintaining the farm equipment.
Both Mark and Chris work together and operate the dairy farm, which consists of 125 Holstein milk cows and about 250 head altogether.
“We raise all our replacement heifers,” Chris said, “which usually means about 50 heifers, and we feed out about 20 dairy steers.”
They raise corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and alfalfa, mostly as feed for the cattle.
The Wilcom farm is about 600 acres altogether, 100 of their own and the rest on four other farms that are rented.
Wilcom said though she grew up in town she quickly fell in love with farming after marrying Mike.
Until recently when an ankle injury curtailed her duties on the farm, Evelyn raised all the calves and helped with the milking. She now raises a few chickens for eggs and “takes care of the yard,” she said.
The family always welcomed young men besides their own sons, to the farm. If they had no place to go, the Wilcoms gave them a home as long as they wanted, sent them to school and let them work on the farm.
Mike, Sr., was vice-president of Maryland Farm Bureau for eight years and was one of the original members of Southern States Cooperative.
He was a charter member of the New Market Fire Company. He and Joe Free, another Frederick County farmer, started the tractor pulls at the Great Frederick Fair.
Mike's father was one of the original shippers with Capital Milk Cooperative and the farm has been with Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative for 25 years.
The Wilcom family has always been active in their community as well. Mike Sr.'s father, Charles, Mike and his brothers, founded and built the drag strip known as The 75/80 Drag Way, near Monrovia, on some of the family property and the whole family has worked there in some capacity over the years.
Wilcom helped procure all the local food for the strip to support the “buy local” movement.
“It was an honor to be selected as Farm Family of the Year,” she said. “We’ve had a long, and good life here, and my passion continues for educating young people about agriculture, starting with the very young.