Schiff Farms, Robin Talley honored for service to Delaware agriculture

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Schiff Farms of Harrington, represented by T.J. Schiff, was one of the two recipients of the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Delaware Agriculture.

DOVER – A Harrington-based family agricultural enterprise and a longtime program specialist with the federal Farm Service Agency have been honored with the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Delaware Agriculture.

Schiff Farms, founded in 1946, and Robin Talley, a 30-year federal farm service veteran, were presented with the award by Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee at the Delaware Agricultural Industry Dinner on Wednesday evening.

“Both the Schiff family and Robin Talley represent the best spirit of service to Delaware farmers,” Kee said. “They have worked tirelessly to support and provide more opportunity to First State agriculture. Schiff Farms is noted for going above and beyond to help support farmers who grew a record grain harvest this year. Robin Talley has spent three decades at the FSA assisting farmers with loans, conservation programs and disaster payments, leading a dedicated team. Both are sterling examples of leadership and dedication to agriculture.”

Talley has served as district director and program specialist with the Farm Service Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, since 1999. She began her federal career in 1984 with the FSA’s predecessor agency, the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, and worked as Kent County executive director from 1985 to 1995.

Talley holds master’s degrees in economics and business administration, and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics, all from the University of Delaware. She has previously received the University’s George M. Worrilow Award from the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award for Superior Service for her work with USDA.

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USDA Farm Service Agency Robin Talley was one of the two recipients of the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Delaware Agriculture.

Schiff Farms, founded in 1946 by Walter and Gladys Schiff, began as a 300-acre grain operation with several poultry houses, and has grown into a farm operation and grain buying facility with farms and ranches in Delaware, Maryland, Nebraska and Wyoming. 

Now operated by Walter and Gladys’ son, Jim, and his wife, Carol, the business also includes their sons, T.J. and Scott, who manage parts of the operation in Delaware and Nebraska; daughter Kim Glynn is an emergency room physician in Minnesota. Schiff Farms employs 40 full-time workers in Delaware and 25 in Nebraska. Today, they till 3,500 acres in Delaware and have 2.5 million bushels of storage space in Harrington.

Past recipients of the Secretary’s Award include Laura Hill of Lewes and Barbara Sapp of Milton (2014); Walter C. Hopkins Sr. of Lewes (2013); U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Michael Scuse, a former Delaware secretary of agriculture (2012); Delmarva Farmer Senior Editor Bruce Hotchkiss (2012); James Baxter of Georgetown (2011); brothers David, Ed and Robert Baker of Middletown (2010); and Bill Vanderwende of Bridgeville (2009).

This year’s Agricultural Industry Dinner, sponsored by the Delaware Council of Farm Organizations, also included the auction of two low-digit Farm Vehicle tags, with proceeds of $9,500 benefiting the Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation’s mobile agricultural education lab.

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