Rewarding the Next Generation of Ag

Are you a young, beginning, or small (YBS) farmer working hard to be outstanding in your field? Then you should apply for a Farmers on the Rise Award for a chance at a $10,000 prize!

Farmers on the Rise Farm Credit ag grant award

This program was created to honor farm owner-operators within the diverse agricultural community, who excel in their field. Selection of winners are based on their efforts in agriculture, financial character, leadership, community wellbeing, and environmental stewardship.  

The program will offer five $10,000 awards to the top five contestants.

The application is now closed. Meet our winners below!

Caleb and Alice Crothers

Caleb and Alice Crothers of Long Green Farms Inc. in Rising Sun, MD

Emma Jagoz

Emma Jagoz of Moon Valley Farm in Woodsboro, MD

Joseph and Jenell McHenry

Joseph and Jenell McHenry of McHenry's Harvesting/Beef in Kennedyville, MD

Robert "Wesley" Miller, Jr. and Amanda Miller

Robert "Wesley" Miller, Jr. and Amanda Miller of Chesapeake Gold Farms in North East, MD

Matthew "Levi" Sellers and Billie Jo Sellers

Matthew "Levi" Sellers and Billie Jo Sellers of South Mountain MicroFARM in Boonsboro, MD

Atiya Wells

Atiya Wells of Backyard Basecamp, Inc. in Baltimore, MD


Qualified applicants will identify with one or more of the following categories:

  • 18 to 40 years of age,
  • minority operator,
  • veteran operator,
  • operate a small farm with annual gross ag income less than $250,000,
  • or a beginning farmer with less than 10 years of farming experience.

Applicants must reside within MidAtlantic Farm Credit’s territory. A listing of the counties within our footprint can be found here. Applicants can apply as an individual or with their business partner. If you apply as a partnership and are selected as a recipient, the cash prize will be awarded to the primary applicant. This contest is open to those currently farming and prospective farmers looking to start their farm business.

This program is open to the public - you do not need to be a Farm Credit customer to apply.

Officers, Directors, and employees of the Sponsor, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, and their subsidiaries, affiliates, their agents, press/media representatives, and the immediate family members of these entities (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside) and/or those living in the same household of each, whether or not related, are not eligible to enter.

The application for this award program will only be available online and each applicant may only apply for one award per year.

How will Applications be Judged?

Each application will be evaluated based on the following criteria to achieve a score out of 200 possible points: 

  • Agriculture and Growth: 60 points
  • Financial Character: 40 points
  • Leadership & Community Wellbeing: 40 points
  • Environmental Stewardship: 40 points
  • Spelling and Grammar: 20 points

A three person panel of judges will select the top 10 finalists and invite them to participate in an in-person interview with the judging selection committee to further explain their application.

Interviews will be held during the day, exclusively on December 7 at our headquarters office in Westminster, Maryland. Interviews will be no longer than 30 minutes in length and are intended for the applicant to provide additional details and clarification regarding their application.

During the interview process, only the named applicant is permitted into the interview. No guests may be a part of the interview however, if you apply as a partnership, both partners may participate. 

Audio visual/PowerPoint/Prezi technology will not be available during the interview process.  

How to Apply

The 2021 Farmers on the Rise program has closed. Check back for more information about next year's application!

At the bottom of this page, fill out the application form and attach the following required documentation:

  • Completed Application (Available online only at the bottom of this page) 
  • High resolution photo (.jpg or .png) 
  • Letter of Recommendation - Must include the your name, title, address, email, phone number, and not be dated before September 1, 2021
  • Completed W9 Form - Click here to download a Blank W9 

Incomplete applications will not be accepted or contacted. You cannot save your progress as you fill out the application, so be sure to have all materials ready at the time of submission.

If you have any questions about this program or application, please email

Optional Items of Support

These items are not required to qualify for an award, however you may choose to submit them to provide more in depth support of your application. In the event of a tie in score, judges may use these items to determine ranking: