Each year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) partners with Frederick Magazine for Frederick’s Top 50 publication. The 2022 issue, released in January, features Frederick’s Top 50 Under 40. Homegrown Frederick wanted to take a similar approach and highlight the young entrepreneurs and leaders in the agriculture and craft beverage industries. The Homegrown Frederick magazine, released June 1, announces Frederick County’s Top Young Agricultural Professionals. Each week we will be highlighting these individuals so you can get to know them better.
Cathleen Wastler, 27, is an owner and operator of Tulip Pond Farm in Union Bridge and named one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. Cathleen grew up on her family’s dairy operation, instilling a passion for agriculture at a young age. In 2016, Cathleen received a bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Business Finance. She held internships with an accounting firm in Frederick and then an insurance company in Libertytown, all while working on her family’s farm full-time. During her internship experiences, she decided her heart was at home. In 2018, she became a partner with her parents on Tulip Pond Farm.
Tulip Pond Farm is dairy, crop and beef operation. Cathleen and her family milk approximately 170 cows with 162 replacement heifers, have a beef herd of about 45 head and farm around 800 acres of cropland. Her days begin at 4am milking the cows with her mother. Cathleen can also be found scraping the barn, and bedding and feeding the heifers. In the spring, Cathleen spends much of her time in the field planting corn and soybeans for the farm. She tells us, “I even bought my own tractor and steering system to make things more efficient for our operation.” When it comes to making hay, Cathleen is heavily involved, operating the mower, rake or baler. Like most farms, harvest in the fall is a busy time for Tulip Pond Farm. Cathleen can be found in the combine harvesting the corn and beans or planting cover crops during this time. She is especially proud that Tulip Pond Farm has been able to accomplish cover cropping every acre they farm. They are devoted to being stewards of the land protecting the soil and helping mitigate runoff to the Chesapeake Bay. On top of her farm duties, Cathleen also helps her mother with the books and her father stay compliant with their nutrient management plan, as well as Farm Service Agency and Soil Conservation programming.
Cathleen is currently serving on the leadership council for Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, the member-owned cooperative they market their milk through. She also cares deeply for the agriculture community, advocates for the industry, and helps the next generation get involved. Cathleen enjoys working with youth interested in agriculture.
When it comes to who has influenced Cathleen the most in her work, she said, “My grandfather because he is 85 and still plants corn and makes hay. My husband influences me to work more efficiently on the farm. My parents influence me because they have worked so hard for what they have accomplished.” She also credits her parents for her work ethic which she attributes most to her success on the farm. “I was always taught to work for what you want,” she said.
We are proud to honor Cathleen as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. The full list can be found here. It is safe to say the local agricultural industry has a bright future ahead with young leaders like her at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Cathleen on this well-deserved accolade!