Award Celebrates 100 Years of Continuous Farm Ownership, Operation by the Same Family

News Release, Maryland Department of Agriculture

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today honored six Maryland farm families during the 2020 Century Farm ceremony at the State House. This recognition is given to farms that have been owned and operated by the same family for more than 100 years. This year’s ceremony included five Century Farms and one Bicentennial Farm.

“Today is a celebration of agriculture, but it is also about families. By passing down farming as a way of life from generation to generation, each of our six honorees has played a significant role in continuing agriculture as the leading industry in Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “We are incredibly grateful for all of our Maryland farms, and are proud to celebrate six very special farm families that represent the absolute best of Maryland agriculture.”

The following farms were designated Century Farms at this year’s awards ceremony:

  • Chaffey Farm; Marion Station, Somerset County; est. 1919
  • Evergreen Heritage Center; Mount Savage, Allegany County; est. 1869
  • Jeptha Hayman Farm; Westover, Somerset County; est. 1834 
  • Poplar Springs Farm; La Plata, Charles County; est.1914
  • White Hall Farm*Dunkirk, Calvert County; est. 1801 (Bicentennial Farm)
  • The Wil-Low-S at Lowe Point; Pylesville, Harford County; est. 1902

Poplar Springs Farm (La Plata, Charles County)

G. Conrad Dyson purchased Poplar Springs Farm in 1914. The farm is currently owned by his son, George C. Dyson, and his wife, Ruby. The farm’s rich history dates back to the 1600s when it is believed that Lord Baltimore gave the original tract of land to Robert Troope in exchange for his participation in the Battle of the Severn. The original boundary stone still exists on the farm and is mentioned in deeds going back to the 1700s. The farmhouse and cow barn on the property today, built sometime between 1880-1910, are being awarded the Century Farm Historic Structures Award. The farm has historically raised a variety of livestock and grown tobacco, field corn, wheat, and soybeans. Poplar Springs Farm currently grows hay in addition to breeding beef cattle and horses.

White Hall Farm (Dunkirk, Calvert County)

Currently owned and operated by Tiffany and Todd Durbin, this Bicentennial Farm has been in the family since 1801 when it was originally purchased by Thomas W.B. Smith. Mr. Smith was the founder of Smithsville, Maryland, now known as Dunkirk. The original farm covered more than 168 acres and is currently 75 acres. Information related to the origins of the land is unclear due to the loss of records when the Calvert County courthouse burned down in 1882. White Hall Farm hosted the first-ever Calvert County Fair on its grounds in 1886. The farmhouse was built in 1801 and is being awarded the Century Farm Historic Structures Award. Additionally, there is one tobacco barn on the property that is still standing in its original structure, and two more tobacco barns that were built in 1900. Throughout its 200-year history, White Hall Farm has grown tobacco and raised cows, horses, chickens, and goats. The farm currently grows poultry, corn, and soybeans. Todd Durbin is a veteran of the U.S. Army and participates in the Farmer Veteran Coalition and Maryland’s Best Homegrown By Heroes program.

“Becoming a Maryland Century Farm is no small feat,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder. “This honor is the result of more than a hundred years of hard work, dedication, perseverance, and passion by the families recognized today and their loved ones that came before them. I cannot thank each Century Farm family enough for what they have done for Maryland agriculture and I congratulate them on this incredible milestone achievement.”

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 have a 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 in 2017 for Maryland farm families after it had been halted for 10 years.

Since the Century Farm Program began, 193 farms – about 1.5% of the state’s 12,429 farms – have received the Century Farm designation. Additionally, since the start of the program, 27 families have earned the Bicentennial Farm title for farming the same land for more than 200 years, and 4 families have been named Tricentennial Farms for farming the same land for more than 300 years.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...