More than 200 family members, neighbors and friends gathered Saturday at the Donald and Brenda Wilson farm on Wilson Road in Lemon Township to mark a milestone in agriculture.
Their farm was designated a ‘Century Farm,’ noting that it had been owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years.
The century farm program was established by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to help promote the strength and durability of Pennsylvania’s farm families. In order to qualify, a family member must live on the farm on a permanent basis, and the farm must include at least 10 acres of the original holding or gross more than $1,000 annually from the sale of farm products.
The farm originated with the Wilsons in 1914 when Robert and Mary Wilson purchased 138 acres which included a farmhouse and barn. At the time there were 13 dairy cattle, and the property was sold in 1955 to the youngest son in the family, namely Paul - who is now 87 - and who owned the farm with his wife June, now 84.
Paul and June tripled the size of the herd, and by 1986, they decided to sell the farm to their oldest son Donald who now owns the farm with his wife Brenda.
In 2007, they sold the dairy cows, but do maintain some beef cattle.
On Saturday, in addition to Rep. Karen Boback reading a citation from the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Wyoming County’s District Conservationist Ed Patchcoski of the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service was on hand to also affirm that the Wilsons were good soil stewards.
He noted that in June of 1949, Paul signed the original cooperator’s agreement on 240 acres of farmland in Lemon Township with the Wyoming County Conservation District.
In 1980 and 1982, Paul signed a conservation plan and contract that included contour strip cropping and underwater drainage.
In 2008, son Donald signed a grazing management plan for his beef herd which is a best practice in nutrient management.
On hand Saturday night were descendants of Paul and June as well as neighbors and other well wishers.
Rep. Karen Boback said she hoped the Wilsons planned to stay close to the ground for another 100 years.
Agriculture Department spokesman April Orwig said Monday that since the Century Farm program’s inception in 1977 and the creation of the Bicentennial Farm program in 2004, more than 2,000 farms in Pennsylvania had been designated.
Prior to Saturday’s presentation, Wyoming County was home to 18 century and bicentennial farms: They are Roderick and Marj Malloy of RD2, Laceyville; Wayne S. Robinson of N. Eaton Rd., Tunkhannock; Clifford Spencer of RD2, Nicholson; Harry Forsey of RD1, Mehoopany; James Dickson and Carol Fiedler of RD4, Tunkhannock; Harold and Ruth Jennings of RD4, Meshoppen; Carl and Jean Rogers of SR1008, Factoryville; Carl and Jean Carpenter of RD2, Dalton; Albert J. Crispell of RD1, Noxen; Robert and Eleanore Herman of SR1008, Factoryville; E. Lester, Judson and Roy Prevost of RD3, Tunkhannock; Dean H. Stang of RD1, Meshoppen; C. Donald Brown of Avery Station Road, Tunkhannock; Warren and Bernice Goodwin of RD1, Mehoopany; Elizabeth and Raymond Phillips of RD4, Tunkhannock; Neil and Karen Tague of RD1, Tunkhannock; Howard and Donald Bartron of Bartron Road, Tunkhannock; and Stephen and Christina Henning of Creek Road, Mehoopany.
Application details are available online at www.agriculture.state.pa.us by searching ‘Century Farm’ or by calling 717-705-7796.