Harrisburg - Agriculture Secretary George Greig celebrated more than 450 combined years of family farming across the commonwealth on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.
Greig honored the four farms families by presenting them with certificates designating each farm as a Pennsylvania Century Farm.
"The Farm Show is a great place to honor Pennsylvania's long-standing farm families," said Greig. "This is where farm meets city and where people from all walks of life can appreciate what these families have done to maintain their farms for a century and keep Pennsylvania growing."
The four farms include: The Tim and Sandra Brown Farm, the Marguerite Maxwell and James Maxwell Farm, the Linda (Lang) Mathias and Kevin Mathias Farm and the Prange Family Farm.
The 101-acre Brown farm was established on April 1, 1893 and purchased for $14.85 per acre. A blacksmith and sawmill business was also on the Ebensburg, Cambria County farm and today the main business is in beef and hay. The family still uses the original home and spring house.
The Browns, who enjoyed their first visit to the Farm Show, join 25 other century farms in Cambria County.
The mother and son team of Marguerite and James Maxwell farm 572 acres in Potter County. The original farm consisted of 260 acres, purchased in 1868. Several of the farm's original buildings remain in use today.
The Maxwell family entered multiple businesses over the years in addition to farming, including logging, wagon-building and law enforcement. Farming has remained a staple for the family; beef cattle and crops are currently the farm's primary business. Potter County is home to 22 century farms.
The Lang farm, owned by Linda Lang Mathias and Kevin Mathias, was established by Linda's great-grandfather. All of the farm's original 100 acres, purchased on July 2, 1906, for $62 per acre, are farmed today.
Four grape vines planted in the 1800s remain productive, joining other vines, apples, peaches, corn and hay as crops produced on the farm outside of Cabot, Butler County. It also produces beef. In addition to the Lang farm, Butler County, has 90 other century farms and a bicentennial farm.
The Prange family purchased their farm on March, 24, 1911, for $4,139.63 at the site outside of Kirkwood, Lancaster County. All 54 acres of the original farm remain in use today, primarily for crop farming. Likewise, the Prange family still uses the original house and barn. The Prange family joins 150 other century and bicentennial farms throughout Lancaster County.
Pennsylvania recognizes 2,057 farms through its Century and Bicentennial Farm Program.
"This program highlights the longevity, durability and strength of Pennsylvania's farm families," said Greig. "I'm proud of these folks and our other century and bicentennial farm families across the state. They have unique and fascinating stories to tell and I appreciate their preservation of our state's proud agricultural heritage."
The 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 7-14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10. Visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us for details.
For photos, click here.