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The Wright Place – Bicentennial Farm (Harford Co.)

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 34 families from 18 counties who have farmed the same land for more than 100 years, including one family that has farmed the same land for more than 300 years and two families that have farmed the same land for more than 200 years. Since the program began in 1994, 173 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.

“Maryland farmers are the backbone of our economy. The Century Farm families we honor today have played a significant role in making agriculture a leading industry in Maryland. I am committed to working with the entire farm community to keep farming sustainable and profitable in Maryland,” said Governor Hogan.

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 an 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 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.”

Farm honored today with the “Tricentennial” designation:

The Hermitage (Centreville, Queen Anne’s County)

The Hermitage was granted to the Tilghman Family by Charles Calvert in 1658 and is currently owned and operated by Ben and Paige Tilghman. The original parcel consisted of 400 acres and has grown to 879 acres with half of the land in grain crops and half in timber. The original farmhouse no longer stands however the current home dates back to 1780. Along with this the farm has many buildings dating back to the late 1800s including various tenant houses, stables, corn cribs, and an ice house. The farm entered into the conservation easement program run by the Maryland Environmental Trust in 1977.

Farms honored today with the “Bicentennial” designation:

The Wright Place (White Hall, Harford County)

Barbara Wright Lowe owns the 120-acre farm where her son William G. Kurtz currently lives and operates. Thomas Poteet, Barbara’s great, great, great, great grandfather, purchased the originally 448-acre farm as a grant from the Western Shore Land Office of the Maryland State government in 1794. This land, which he named Poteet’s Fields, was confiscated from Loyalists during the American Revolution and granted to Revolutionary soldiers. The farm has participated in Ag Land Preservation. Crops grown on the farm include tomatoes, wheat, barley, oats, corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and orchard grass. Livestock raised on the farm includes hogs, bulls, chickens, mules, horses, and sheep.

Hickory Ridge Farm (Massey, Kent County)

Frances and John R. Quinn currently reside on the 282-acre farm. Samuel Johnson, great, great grandfather of Frances Quinn, purchased the land in 1787. The original farmhouse, built in 1888, still remains and is in excellent condition. The farm also includes two implement sheds, a pig house, a dairy barn and a milk house. Crops raised on the farm include corn, wheat, soybeans, potatoes, barley as well as cattle. They also have 11 acres of woodlands.

Click here for a complete list by county of all farms honored today. 

Maryland currently has 12,200 farms averaging 166 acres in size with a gross annual income of $2 billion.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Digital photos available on Flickr.

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Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889