Four Sussex families win Century Farm recognition121 Delaware farms have won designation
Special to the Cape Gazette — Four Sussex County families’ farms were recognized as Century Farms Nov. 1 by the Delaware Department of Agriculture. These families were awarded the title at the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village in Dover.
Their recognition as Century Farms brings the total of Century Farms in Delaware to 121, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Austin Short said.
“I think that’s a great accomplishment for a small state like Delaware. It shows the vitality of our farming industry,” Short said.
The Pepper family was the first to be recognized. Thomas and Elizabeth Pepper own two farms, one from each side of the family. This was the first time since the award ceremony’s inception in 1987 that two farms were recognized from two families bound by marriage.
The Pepper farm near Milton is 34 acres in size and has been in the family since 1879, while the Wilson farm near Georgetown is 53 acres in size and has been in the family since 1876. The Peppers’ land, originally 40 acres, was purchased for $319 by Thomas B. Pepper. The Wilsons’ land, originally 150 acres, was purchased for $1,100 by Thomas Wilson. Both men were great-grandfathers of the current owners.
Also receiving the award was the Wilson family. State Rep. David L. Wilson and his wife Carolyn own a 105-acre farm near Georgetown which has been in the family since 1907. The land was purchased by Charles Wilson, David Wilson's grandfather.
The Walls family was also recognized. Mildred Walls owns a 54-acre farm near Greenwood which has been in her family since 1911. The Walls’ land, originally 68 acres, was purchased for $3,000 by John Butler, grandfather of Walls’ late husband.
The fourth Sussex family to be recognized was Breeding family. Chris and Karen Breeding own a 12.75-acre farm near Greenwood which has been in the family since 1911. This farmland was originally 68 acres and was purchased for $3,000 by the same John Butler who purchased the Walls' family farm. Mildred Walls, Chris Breeding’s great-aunt, bequeathed the land to him and his wife in 2005.
Short said, “These farms are all still active and working, helping support Delaware agriculture through all these years. We hope that all of our Century Farms will continue to thrive and become 200-year farms.”
Guest speaker Thomas Summers, outreach services manager for the Delaware Public Archives, said, “The stories these families have to tell are a vibrant and vital part of Delaware’s rich history. Their farms and this program help make more people aware of the contributions of agriculture to our heritage and lives today.”