Meet Your Farmer: Laura and Roland Hill

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Laura Hill, the first woman to be elected as a Delaware Farm Bureau officer — as second vice president in 2012 — is now first vice president of Delaware Farm Bureau. She has been a Farm Bureau member since 1977 and was a longtime 4-H volunteer. She has previously served as Sussex County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Chair, and also serves as chair of the Farm Bureau Food Booth and Legislative Committees and on the Farm Bureau Executive Committee.

Hill also has served on the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission since 2009, appointed by the House of Representatives to represent Sussex County poultry farmers.

Roland Hill served on the Delaware Soybean Board years ago and now serves on the Sussex Conservation Board. He is also a Sussex County Farm Bureau Director.

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The Hills own and operate the 1,600-acre Deerfield Farm in Lewes along with their sons, Roland III and Jerad. “It takes all four of us collectively to make this farm run successfully,” Laura said.

Their daughter, Jamie, moved with her family from Pennsylvania three years ago and bought a home in a development located next to the farm. Jamie holds an agriculture degree from Delaware Valley College.

“Hopefully, someday Jamie will be able to take over my job on the farm,” Laura said, “but for now she is a full-time soccer and lacrosse mom and assistant track coach at Beacon Middle School and Cape High School.”

Jamie’s husband, Brian Loucks, is also heavily involved in their sons’ sports activities when not at work for Eastern Shore Utilities as a corrosion engineer.

The family grows grain and vegetables — including peas, lima beans and black-eyed peas — and also operate a 105,000-capacity poultry operation, Roland Hill Poultry Farm, growing for Mountaire Farms.

“We built our first two houses in 1979,” Laura recalls. “We added two more in 1986 and a fifth in 1990. It’s been a long, long time!”

DSC00798.JPGIn 2014, Laura and fellow Farm Bureau member Barbara Sapp of Milton were honored for their service and contributions with the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Delaware Agriculture. They were the first women to receive the award, which was presented at the Delaware Agricultural Industry Dinner.

Ed Kee, then Delaware Ag Secretary, said, “Laura Hill and Barbara Sapp are two of the most outstanding leaders in First State farming we have today. Both have served their communities and state with great distinction as part of the Delaware Farm Bureau and representing agriculture on the Nutrient Management Commission. Their hard work and dedication to promoting and advancing agriculture are without peer.”

Then Governor Jack Markell also praised their contributions to farming. “Agriculture is a critically important part of Delaware’s economy, and no one has carried that message forward more than Laura Hill and Barbara Sapp,” Markell said. “Their deep community involvement and leadership deserves our thanks and praise.”

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