National Agriculture Day: Maryland Honors Century Farms
On National Agriculture Day, Maryland honored the families that have taken part in farming – sometimes for generations.
Eight Maryland farm families were honored during the 2022 Century Farm induction ceremony at the State House in Annapolis. The program recognizes farms that have been owned and operated by the same family for more than 100 years.
“Each of our eight honorees has played a significant role in ensuring that Maryland agriculture continues to thrive and that Maryland families can continue to run profitable sustainable farms for generations to come,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “These wonderful families truly are taking their place within an elite and increasingly rare group, and I want to congratulate each of our honorees on this remarkable achievement.”
“These Century Farm families are a testament to the commitment and dedication of Maryland farmers,” Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder said. “It is inspiring to see these families get the recognition they deserve for their lifelong, multi-generational contributions to the state’s agriculture industry.”
Hogan’s office provided these details of Maryland’s Century Farms that were recognized this year:
Dryden Farm (Newark, Worcester County; est. 1918)
Dryden Farm, currently owned and operated by Olivia Butler and George Dryden, Jr., began as a 201-acre farm in 1918 and has expanded into a 692-acre farm that grows corn and soybeans, in addition to raising dairy cattle and tree farming. The original farm home and barn were built in 1920 and remain operational today. Dryden Farm participates in a number of conservation initiatives including the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) Cover Crop Program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). In addition to farming the land, George Dryden, Sr. worked with the Worcester Soil Conservation District for 12 years.
The Eveland Farm (Hillsboro, Caroline County; est. 1920)
The Eveland family has owned and operated their farm since Feb. 28, 1920, when John Eveland purchased the property. Originally spanning 177 acres, the farm now occupies 135 acres and is owned by John’s grandchildren, James Eveland, Jr. and Roberta S. Eveland. The Eveland farm has raised a variety of animals, including horses, dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Today, the farm primarily grows corn, wheat, soybeans, hay, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Located along the Tuckahoe River, the edge of the property served as a path for sailors traveling from Stoney Point Landing to Hillsboro and became known locally as “The Sailor’s Path.”
Harrison Farm (Pylesville, Harford County; est. 1919)
What started as two farms—14 acres and 18 acres, respectively—is now a 34-acre operation, owned and operated by William T. and Judith M. Harrison. The Harrison farm has been in the family since the current owners’ grandparents, Elmer and Cora Harrison, purchased the land on May 29, 1919. The original farmhouse and barn were built in 1874 and are still standing and currently in use today. Situated along the Mason-Dixon Line, the Harrison farm has grown a variety of crops through the years, including tobacco, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, soybeans, and hay, as well as a poultry operation which started in 1988. Harrison Farm contains a network of streams that form the upper reaches of Falling Branch. The farm participates in environmental stewardship programs, including CREP and MDA’s Cover Crop Program to help protect these natural resources.
Lloyd Ben Brittingham Farm (Parsonsburg, Wicomico County; est. 1915)
Emma Rounds Brittingham purchased the family’s 85-acre farm from Daniel Bailey on Nov. 20, 1915. The farm was later owned by Emma’s grandchildren, Lloyd Ben and Alice H. Brittingham. In the early 1900s, the farm was one of the largest strawberry farms in Wicomico County, and through the years has grown a variety of fresh produce, including watermelons, tomatoes, sweet corn, and garden vegetables. The Brittinghams have also raised cows, hogs, and broiler chickens. The Lloyd Ben Brittingham Farm has a legacy of good stewardship, with on-farm Best Management Practices dating back to the 1970s, and has participated in MDA’s Cover Crop Program and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF).
Mason’s Legacy, LLC (Queen Anne, Queen Anne’s County; est. 1900)
This 264-acre farm was originally purchased on June 1, 1900, by William L. Mason, and has been owned by Mason’s Legacy, LLC, since Dec. 14, 2019. William and Susan Mason’s daughter, Kate Kraszewski, lives on the farm today. The original farm home was destroyed by a fire in 1928, but was rebuilt shortly after along with a shed, milk house, produce market, and greenhouse. The farm currently grows a variety of crops including corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, rye, lima beans, and spinach. In the past, the family has raised sheep, goats, hogs, dairy cattle, and chickens. The farm grew vegetables for canneries from 1975-1990s and transitioned to organic produce in 2005. Mason’s Legacy, LLC participates in a number of agricultural programs including MALPF, MDA’s Cover Crops Program, and CREP. The Queen Anne’s Soil Conservation District has records of Best Management Practices installed on the farm dating back to the district’s establishment in 1941.
Needwood Farm (Knoxville, Frederick County; est. 1915)
Originally purchased by Luther Pry in 1915, the Needwood farm is currently owned by Richard and Patricia Pry, who live on the farm with their son Timothy. The original farm home is still in use and dates back to 1840. This 200-acre farm served as a dairy operation from 1915 to 1986 and has since switched to beef cattle. Throughout the years, the farm has also grown hay, corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, and rye. During the fall and winter months, Timothy runs a deer processing shop on the property. Needwood Farm has participated in several agricultural programs, including MALPF, Cover Crops, Nutrient Management, and Forest Management. In 2009, the farm was named Frederick Soil Conservation District’s Cooperator of the Year.
Phillips Farm (Cambridge, Dorchester County; est. 1920)
Edgar Phillips purchased his family farm on Aug. 10, 1920. The property originally occupied 404 acres and has since grown to cover 628 acres. The farm is currently owned and operated by Edgar’s great grandsons, Vernon Phillips III and Jason Scott. The original farm home dates back to 1848, and still exists today as a rental property. The farm currently grows corn, soybeans, wheat, rye, tomatoes, and watermelons. Throughout the years, the Phillips farm has also raised dairy cattle, beef cattle, laying hens, pigs, ducks, and geese.
White Neck Farm (Avenue, St. Mary’s County; est. 1887)
The history of the White Neck farm dates back to 1887, when Anne Cheseldine purchased the property from her husband’s estate. Elizabeth Cheseldine assumed ownership of the farm in 1908, and it has been owned and operated by Phillip B. and Jane L. Hayden since 1973. The farm spans 145 acres growing corn, soybeans, and wheat. In the past, the farm has raised cattle, pigs, and chickens. A small waterfront area of the farm has also been used for aquaculture. White Neck Farm has some historical significance as well, with a small cemetery and many arrowheads and pieces of pottery found on the property throughout the years.