Maryland Agricultural Commission Elects New Chair, Vice-Chair; Adopts Strategic Plan

(ANNAPOLIS, MD) June 12, 2024 ~ Annapolis, MD - The Maryland Department of Agriculture has announced the election of John "Kelly" Lewis as Chair and Amy Crone as Vice Chair of the Maryland Agricultural Commission during their June 2024 meeting. The vote was held unanimously by Commission members and comes after the approval of a Strategic Plan for the Commission, outlining their top priorities and establishing committees to address key concerns in Maryland agriculture.

Chair Lewis, who holds the Nursery 1 position on the Commission representing the landscape and nursery industry, brings decades of leadership and horticultural experience to his new role. He has been a member since 2022 and holds a certificate in Applied Horticulture Business from Texas A&M through their Executive Academy for Growth and Leadership (EAGL). Lewis also serves on several boards dedicated to advancing the horticulture industry in the state.

Vice Chair Crone, who represents Direct Farm Markets on the Commission, has been a member since 2020. She has an extensive background in agricultural marketing and senior nonprofit leadership, with a focus on advancing farmers markets statewide. Crone is also a graduate of LEAD Maryland and is passionate about increasing opportunities for both farmers and consumers in Maryland's food system.

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The selection of Lewis and Crone as Chair and Vice Chair demonstrates the Commission's commitment to promoting Maryland agriculture. Outgoing Chair Kelly Dudeck, who served during the 2023-2024 term, was thanked by Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks for her vision in getting the Commission to this point. Dudeck held the Agritourism seat on the Commission since 2019.

During her time as Chair, Dudeck provided guidance during staff transitions and worked through challenges brought on by the Covid pandemic. As she steps down from her position, she leaves behind a strong foundation for Lewis and Crone to lead the Commission through its transition to a new format.

The newly elected leaders will also provide guidance to Commission members on how to implement the recently approved Strategic Plan. This plan identifies key priorities for the Commission, including addressing farm profitability, anti-agricultural policies, regulatory restrictions, and promoting and supporting value-added agriculture.

Other concerns outlined in the plan include loss of farmland, public perception of agriculture, bay health and the environment. With Lewis and Crone at the helm, the Commission is well-equipped to tackle these issues and continue to advance Maryland's agricultural industry.

For more information about the Maryland Agricultural Commission, please contact Executive Secretary Harrison Palmer at

Filed Under: Government, State

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