Award Celebrates 100 Years of Farm Ownership, Operation by the Same Families
ANNAPOLIS, MD– Governor Larry Hogan today honored Maryland’s farm families for their commitment to farming and leadership in preserving agricultural land by presenting Century Farm designations to nine families from six counties who have farmed the same land for more than 100 years. Since the program began in 1994, 182 farms – about one percent of the state’s 12,200 farms – have received the Century Farm designation. Four of those have received the Tricentennial Farm designation and 26 have received the Bicentennial Farm designation.
“We are proud to celebrate our state’s strong agricultural history by honoring our century farms, as well as some of our great Maryland farm families,” said Governor Hogan. “Together, we have made incredible progress over the past 3 years, and our farmers and our agriculture community have been an important partner and a key part of that success.”
The Maryland Century Farm Program was established in 1994 by Governor William Donald Schaefer to recognize farms that have been in the same family for at least 100 consecutive years, contain a minimum of 10 acres of the original parcel, and gross annual income of $2,500 or more from the sale of farm products. The Century Farm Program honors families who have passed their farming operations down from generation to generation, making it possible for future stewards of the land to continue in their family tradition. The Hogan administration re-established this annual tradition last year for Maryland farm families after it had been halted for the past 10 years. The last ceremony was held in 2007.
“The best agricultural preservation program is an economically healthy agriculture industry,” said Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder. “Farming has formed the foundation of our nation’s economy for hundreds of years. The farm families we honor today are stewards of the land who have maintained family traditions and a continuity of agriculture important to our communities and our economy.”
Century Farms2018 Honorees:
Farm at the Pines (Keymar, Carroll County)
Owners Mark and Elizabeth Devilbiss currently own and operate an 82-acre multiple crop farm. The farm was purchased in 1907 by William Devilbiss, the great-great grandfather of the current owners. In addition to growing corn, wheat, barley and hay, the farm also raises dairy and beef cattle. The original house, barn and wagon shed built in 1852 are all still in use today. The Farm at the Pines has participated in the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation program since the 1990s. The farm is contiguous to Terra Rubra Farm, which is the birth place of Francis Scott Key. Mark and Elizabeth are trying to meld more modern farming practices into their operation while maintaining the heritage of the farm.
Generation Farm (Westminster, Carroll County)
Owned today by William “Dale” Lauterbach, this 50-acre farm was originally purchased in 1904 by his great-grandfather John Nelson. The farm is 75 percent cropland, 10 percent wetlands and 15 percent pasture. The farmhouse was built in the 1800s, with an addition added in 1919 after a fire destroyed their previous home. The farm produces corn, soybeans and barley; and raises goats, pigs and chickens. The farm also raised cows before switching to goats. John Nelson owned four farms that were divided up amongst his four children. All farms stayed within the family but two are being honored as century farms.
RockNel (Westminster, Carroll County)
Darlene Lauterbach is the owner of RockNel—a 34-acre farm with 95 percent used as cropland and 5 percent woodland. John Nelson, grandfather of current owner Darlene, purchased the property in 1910. The original home was destroyed in 1918 when lightning struck the barn and burned all the buildings. At the time the family moved across the road to another farm owned by the family. The present home was built in 1970 along with a shop in 1985. The farm produces hay, corn and soybeans and raises a few chickens. Over the years some of the property has been rented out to neighboring farmers.
Louisa’s Place (Warwick, Cecil County)
Louisa Pleasanton currently owns the 382-acre farm of cropland, pasture, and woodland. Louisa’s grandfather William Prince Jr. purchased the property in 1917. The original home was built in 1876 by John Drummond and is still used today by Louisa and her son William. The farm participates in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program with 99 acres of cool season grasses and 30 acres of bird habitat. The farm produces peaches, hay, corn, wheat, sweet corn, sunflowers, barley and soybeans. They also raise dairy cattle, hogs, sheep and work horses.
Transquaking Farms (Cambridge, Dorchester County)
The 400-acre farm was purchased in 1916 by August Knauer, the grandfather of current owner Franklin Knauer and great-grandfather to his son Michael Knauer. The farm is comprised of 50 percent cropland, 20 percent marsh/wetlands and 25 percent woodlands. The present home was built in 1997 after the original farm house burnt down in 1995. The farm also has a workshop, milk house, barn and smoke house. The farm produces tomatoes, watermelons, barley, wheat, corn and soybeans; and raises cows, horses, pigs, mules and chickens. The farm has been used as a DEKALB Corn Test plot for 10 years.
Forest Hall Farm (Mechanicsville, St. Mary’s County)
The Forest Hall Farm is a 91-acre farm that originally grew tobacco until 2000. Now the farm produces corn, vegetables, fruits, berries and wine grapes. The family also raises Black Angus cattle along with goats and turkeys. They have 50 hens for eggs and a number of bee hives for honey and pollination. The farm was purchased in 1917 by Joseph A. Wood, the grandfather of current owner Joseph Wood and his wife Mary. The original house was built in 1774 but was unable to be saved. A new house was built on the original footprint in 1990. Today Mary and Joseph’s fourth-generation children and fifth-generation grandchildren live on the farm and help run the operation.
Perdue Family Farms (Salisbury, Wicomico County)
This 41-acre operation has grown from a 4-acre purchase on October 20, 1916 by Arthur W. Perdue, grandfather of current owner Jim Perdue. Originally 100 percent of the land was used for crops, but today 35 percent of the land is used towards development and 5 percent contains solar panels. The farm produces corn, soybeans and wheat. The family also raises chickens on the property. The present home dates back to 1917 and is still in use today. Perdue Farms was officially founded by Arthur Perdue in 1920.
Shockley Farms (Snow Hill, Worcester County)
Currently owned by Curtis Shockley, this 166-acre farm was originally purchased in 1897 by Curtis’s great-grandfather Elijah J. Shockley. Today, 71 percent of the land is used for crops and 28 percent is woodland. Shockley Farms grows potatoes, tomatoes, wheat, corn and soybeans in addition to raising beef cows, pigs and sheep. Shockley was the first farmer to go 100 percent continuous no-till farming in Worcester Country in 1984. This farm has developed several programs on its property including the Timber Harvest in 1957 and 1997, and the Tree and Shrub Establishment in 1993. Over the years, many Native American artifacts have been found on the farm’s property.
William Watson Farm (Stockton, Worcester County)
Purchased in 1914 by W.P. Watson, who was the great-grandfather of current owner Curt Lambertson, this farm totals 131 acres divided into three parts: 90 acres used for cropland, three acres for pasture and 38 acres of woodlands. The original home was built in 1922 and is still being used today. The William Watson Farm produces corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, tomatoes and potatoes. They also raise horses, mules, cattle and hogs.
Maryland currently has 12,200 farms averaging 166 acres in size with a gross annual income of $2 billion.