Wilson R. Bounds Sr., 63, Carroll County farmer and advocate of soybeans

August 22, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Wilson Roberts "Bob" Bounds Sr., a Carroll County grain farmer and national soybean advocate, died Wednesday at his farm in Uniontown after his tractor overturned in a field. He was 63 and lived in the 3000 block of Uniontown Road.

Born in Reisterstown, he graduated in 1959 from Franklin High School, then entered the University of Maryland, from which he earned his bachelor's degree and a master's degree in animal science in 1968.

There he met David L. Greene of White Hall, a friend who was Carroll County's longtime University of Maryland Cooperative Extension director and agricultural science agent.

"He managed swine; I managed beef," Mr. Greene said of their time in school and later working on the college's research farms in Howard County.

Mr. Bounds began farming for himself in 1970, but by 1976 had moved from raising hogs and other livestock to almost all grain farming.

He was quoted occasionally in The Sun, patiently and reassuringly explaining the weather's effects on farmers - usually too much or too little rain.

"Everything in farming is timing," he would say. "A lot of the pressure is real, and a lot of it is imagined."

As a founding member of the Maryland Soybean Board, Mr. Bounds became a national delegate to the United Soybean Board, based in St. Louis.

"He was very interested in soybeans," Mr. Greene said of the knee-high, dark green, bushy plant. "It's evolved into a large crop."

"Soybeans are a major source of protein for the world," Mr. Bounds was quoted as saying in an article in The Sun in 1991 while serving on the national board. "We've entered a new era of global competition in agriculture. In order to be competitive, U.S. farmers must develop a more aggressive promotion program and increase our emphasis on research to reduce production costs and find new uses for our product."

Mr. Greene recalled that "when I came into Carroll County in 1972, soybeans were just getting started. Traditionally, it was a crop on the Eastern Shore. Bob was one of the pioneers, with some of the other farmers, that kind of developed the science of soybeans in the county and on the western shore."

Soybeans are primarily processed into meal - the major source of protein in livestock feed - or oil, he said. The oil can be used not only with food but mixed with diesel fuel for a cleaner-burning and renewable energy source.

"Soybeans are very, very important, and getting more and more important," Mr. Greene said.

Mr. Bounds also had been a member of the Carroll County Farm Bureau, the Carroll County Integrated Pest Management Association and the Carroll County Weed Board, and was a past director of the Maryland Pork Producers Association.

He also served for many years as chaplain of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers, said W. Wilson Lippy of Hampstead, a retired farmer and longtime friend.

"I've known him for years and years," he said, "and he's just a strong, spiritual man. He loved the Lord; he loved his family; he loved farming. He just had a real good joyful spirit to him."

Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. today at the Bethel Assembly of God, 2075 Fish & Game Road, Littlestown, Pa.

He is survived by his wife of 26 years, the former Constance Jeanne Savin; his mother, Lou Stem Bounds Hoover of Reisterstown; two sons, Wilson R. Bounds Jr. of Taneytown, and Jeffrey A. Bounds of Uniontown; three daughters, Rachel A. Kenney of Mount Airy, Laurie Jean Tabor of Bel Air, and Kimberly Stem Bounds of Pittsburgh; and three grandchildren.

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