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.
Matt Morris, 31, is named as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. Unique to many of those selected, Matt was not native to Frederick County, nor did he come from a deep-rooted farm family. Growing up in Prince George’s County, he found himself intrigued by and interested in farming. While helping a neighboring tobacco, grain and hay farmer, Matt got his first exposure to the industry and quickly developed a respect and love for the land. Realizing the challenge of starting his own agricultural operation from scratch, Matt made the decision to attend the University of Maryland to further his knowledge in Agronomy. He then went on to earn his Master’s degree in Weed Science to set himself up for a career in agriculture. Matt’s passion for agriculture has only grown since his initial experience working with his neighbor. After college, he found himself moving to Frederick County to pursue an opportunity to own his own herd of cattle. He worked for a local agri-services company for a short time, and then served Frederick County’s farming community as the Agricultural Extension Agent before accepting a full-time position as the Crop and Trucking Manager at South Mountain Creamery (SMC).
Matt wears many hats while working full-time for SMC. SMC is a 3,000-acre dairy, beef, crop, and poultry operation located in Middletown. He appreciates how no two days are the same and is involved with a variety of tasks including crop planting and harvesting, grain marketing, milk hauling and so much more. He is also a part owner/operator of Middletown Valley Beef, a grass-fed, feeder beef cattle operation. Matt’s greatest business accomplishment is having a beef cattle farming operation of his own. He is proud to have built a profitable business with his friend and partner. He says, “Despite not growing up on a farm family or even in Frederick County, I am able to live out my dream of owning and raising my own herd of cattle.”
Matt is well respected by the agriculture community, easily proven through his involvement. Most recently, he is excited to be elected to the Burkittsville Town Council. Matt is also a current member of the Board of Directors for the Frederick County Farm Bureau and the Maryland Grain Producers, and he served as an agricultural representative on the Frederick County Climate Emergency Mobilization Workgroup.
When asked who has influenced him the most in his work, Matt said, “My friend and the smartest person I know, Ben Sowers” (Ben is part owner of SMC). “The fact that farming is a passion, not a job for me” is the mentality that he attributes most to his success. Frederick County is fortunate to have passionate, hardworking young adults like Matt within the ag community to promote and support this vital industry for years to come.
We are proud to honor Matt 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 him at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Matt on this well-deserved accolade!