Harford County has long been known for its agricultural roots, its equestrian hills and fields and its meadows filled with nature. While much of the farmland has been developed into residential neighborhoods and businesses, a balance between agriculture and business remains an important part of the county’s economy. At The Mill, customers can access the highest quality seeds, fertilizers, plant and animal foods and reap the benefits of the farming community.
• Lawn and gardening equipment and supplies
• Equine food and supplies
• Pet food and supplies
• Wild bird feed
• Livestock feed and supplies
• Field crops and pasture management
• Work apparel boots and footwear
• Crops – seed, fertilizer, additives
• Equine – Horse feed, tack needs, grooming needs
• Farm supplies – fencing and gates, stable supplies, pasture mixes
• Livestock – feed, poultry production
A family business now owned by Henry Holloway, The Mill was founded in 1957 by Holloway’s grandfather, Smith Walter. “My family has been farming in Harford County since the 1600s,” Holloway says. It makes perfect sense that the family business was designed to serve the agricultural community. As the county experienced the beginnings of a burgeoning suburbia, The Mill soon began to diversify to serve those needs. Holloway joined the business in 1983, after earning a degree in animal science at Virginia Tech University. Walter sold the company to his grandson in 1986.
Since then, Holloway added his wife, Brenda, and several other extended family members to the team. He has also opened five retail stores and partnered with managers Ben Hushon, Marlyn Flaharty, and Michelle and JB Jennings, whose roles in key management positions have helped to grow the business. Holloway, with the support of Michelle Jennings, has also led The Mill’s expansion into the equine market, selling products to thoroughbred horse owners, breeders, trainers and boarding stable owners. The Mill’s customer base has diversified, ranging from agricultural producers to the suburban family. Customers will find fertilizer, grass seeds, pet foods and birdseeds at The Mill, along with the agricultural products that are staples for area farmers.
Holloway keeps The Mill relevant to agricultural producers and consumers by bringing new technology to the communities where it does business: Bel Air, Whiteford, Black Horse, Hereford, Hampstead and Red Line, Pa. “Technology changes daily with the use of GPS, various new forms of software and data precision applications for plant food,” Holloway explains. “By utilizing the latest technology in plant food, for example, our customers can be more cost-effective, more accurate and more environmentally friendly.” He notes that using less plant food not only saves money, it also reduces the risk of nutrient run-off.
The Mill hosts an annual Crop Showcase each September at Clear Meadow Farm, where they demonstrate the newest technologies in growing crops. These plots showcase the differences between plants that have been treated with new fertilizer and food technologies and those that have not. Guests actually see the crops as they were grown with and without the new technology. Holloway says the Crop Showcase attracts 200 to 300 farmers each year.
Plant food and fertilizer are good examples of The Mill being in the forefront of both new technology and reasonable prices. Holloway says he is able to buy these products direct from suppliers in the Midwest, allowing a favorable cost/benefit ratio for both his bottom line and that of his customers. “Our lawn and garden products come from the same suppliers and manufacturers as our agricultural products, so the volume buying enables us to purchase products at a lower price,” he explains.
The Mill also works with public schools, local athletic groups and businesses to improve the condition of playing fields and turf grass. “That’s real grass turf,” Holloway emphasizes. “It’s not the fake Astroturf.” The Mill provides a full line of lawn control products and erosion control fabric for turf along with other products for athletic fields.
“Our primary goal is to reduce waste and increase yield – whether it’s an income producing crop or a back yard lawn,” Holloway says. “If you have plants or animals, we’ll do our best to help you meet your goals.” His staff at each location is trained to help solve lawn and garden problems and provide answers to agricultural and suburban lawn care questions. I95