Local man, 24, hired by county to help market farm products

Specialist is to develop a plan for new outlets

April 16, 1999|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

A young beef farmer hired by the county Department of Economic Development says he will seek new markets for local farm products and expand the department's involvement in Carroll's and Maryland's largest industry.

Gabriel Zepp, 24, of Old Washington Road in Westminster began work yesterday as agricultural marketing specialist, a new position in the county.

Zepp is to come up with a strategic plan in the next few months, during which he will speak with counterparts in other counties, state economic development staff members and others, said John T. "Jack" Lyburn Jr., the county director of economic development.

Zepp said he would like to create a page on the World Wide Web to educate the public, along with specific markets, about what Carroll County farmers have to offer.

"Niche markets will be a part of what we go after, but we want to keep it broad," said Zepp, who has a bachelor's degree in animal science from Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania. "We also want to bring markets here to create jobs."

Lyburn, who said Zepp "impressed us with his vision," recruited an area veterinarian and another farmer to interview the best of the approximately 20 applicants for the position before hiring Zepp.

"He was the No. 1 choice by far," Lyburn said.

The office has worked for four years to market local agriculture, he said, but didn't have the staff to go out and meet with farmers.

Lyburn said Montgomery, Harford and Howard counties have economic development specialists devoted to agriculture.

Zepp was born and raised in Carroll County. He and his family have 35 Red Angus beef cattle and their calves, and grow corn and hay for their feed.

At Delaware Valley College, Zepp was a classmate of Jennifer Reynolds, who was hired last spring as 4-H coordinator in Carroll County after learning of the job through Zepp.

Pub Date: 4/16/99

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