Honoring Generational Legacy: Celebrating Pennsylvania’s Bicentennial and Century Farms

New Century FarmsImage via PA Department of Agriculture

PENNSYLVANIA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently honored the Donald and Donna Kerchner family of Lenhartsville, Berks County, and the Richard Thomas family of Troy, Bradford County. Both families’ farms were named Bicentennial Farms for having been in the same family for 200 years. Redding also honored nine families who achieved Century Farm status for keeping their farms in the same family for 100 years.

At the ceremony during Penn State’s Ag Progress Days, families from Armstrong, Berks, Bradford, Butler, Centre, Columbia, Jefferson, Perry, Somerset counties, and two York county families were honored with the designations and recognized for their commitment to feeding Pennsylvania and sustaining our economy.

“These families have devoted their lives and legacies to feeding their neighbors here and around the world,” said Secretary Redding. “They are stewards not just of their families’ legacies, but of our land, water and soil resources. We are here not just because these farms have stood the test of time, but because of the decisions made by generations of families to persevere and thrive in agriculture no matter what comes their way. The Shapiro Administration is committed to supporting these families and their communities, helping them to continue thriving for decades to come.”

Since the Century Farm program’s inception in 1977 and 2004 when the Bicentennial Farm program began, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has recognized more than 2,300 farms. Farms receive a sign to post on their property noting the achievement.

A family member must live on the farm on a permanent basis. The farm must consist of at least 10 acres of the original parcel or gross more than $1,000 annually from the sale of farm products.

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Following are the Century and Bicentennial Farms:

Armstrong County

Roger and Sandy Kromer Farm, Kittanning – established 1923

The Kromer Farm is a Black Angus beef farm, handed down from Sandy Kromer’s grandparents, who bought it in 1923. A grainery and wooden corn crib from the original farm are still in use. Roger, Jr. and Danielle Kromer are raising their children on the farm.

Armstrong County is home to 60 Century and five Bicentennial Farms.

Berks County

Kerchner Family Farm, Bicentennial Farm – established 1790

Donald’s great, great grandfather, George Adam Zettlemoyer, purchased the farm in 1790. Today, the family raises beef cattle on more than 97 acres of the original purchase.

Berks County has 33 Century and 12 Bicentennial Farms.

Bradford County

Thomas Family Trust Farm, Troy, Bicentennial Farm – established 1802

In 1802, during Pennsylvania-Connecticut border disputes, Noah Wilson bought 3,000 acres in what would eventually become Bradford County. Dr. Reuben Rowley served in the Revolutionary War, and after he served received approximately 148 acres, of the land, where he settled, continuing to practice medicine and farm. Reuben’s descendent Richard Thomas inherited the farm in 1973 and has placed the farm in a trust in the names of his son and grandchildren.

The original 1802 farmhouse still stands, and a one-room schoolhouse built on the farm in 1844 was donated to the Troy Heritage Village and Farm Museum and moved there.

Bradford County is home to 53 Century and three Bicentennial Farms.

Butler County

Tom and Edie Brain Farm, Harmony – established 1916

Purchased for $2,800 by Tom Brain’s great, great grandfather, a German immigrant, in 1916, the farm was worked during the 1940s by Tom’s father. He also worked building many of Pittsburgh’s bridges. The original 65 acres are still in use on the honey and beef farm.

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Butler County is home to 99 Century and two Bicentennial Farms.

Centre County

Joanne M. Fisher Farm, Warriors Mark – established 1895

Fisher inherited the 150-acre beef farm in 2010, from her parents. It was purchased in 1895 by her great-grandfather George D. Wilson and his brother William L.

Centre County is home to 43 Century and two Bicentennial Farms.

Columbia County

David and Donna Klingerman Farm, Bloomsburg, Columbia County – established 1922

All 83 of the original acres purchased by David’s grandfather John E. Klingerman in 1922 are still in use. The farm is a grain operation and the original barn and house are still in use.

Columbia County has 29 Century and two Bicentennial Farms.

Jefferson County

Richard J. Carol Farm, Punxsutawney – established 1897

Primarily a grain farm with all 36 original acres, and an original barn and shed are still in use. Richard’s great-grandfather purchased the farm in 1897.

Jefferson County is home to 77 Century Farms.

Perry County

Dorman Family Farm, Duncannon – established 1877

Elizabeth Woods purchased the farm in 1877 after having immigrated from Scotland to Philadelphia with her parents in 1849. On her death, she passed the farm to her daughter Henrietta. Thirty-three of the original 35 acres are still in use on the corn, barley, and timber farm.

Perry County is home to 37 century and 5 bicentennial farms.

Somerset County

Mark and Ryan Sechler Farm, Confluence – established 1873

The farm on Chickenbone Road was purchased in 1873 by Ryan’s great, great, great, great grandfather for $35 an acre. All 230.25 acres are still in use on the dairy farm, which is home to two generations of the Sechler family.

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Somerset County has 63 Century and eight Bicentennial farms.

York County

Thomas, Gregory, and George Perry Farm, York – established 1923

The farm was purchased in 1923 by the Perry brothers’ great grandfather Harry Lincoln Perry, an Illinois transplant who served in the PA House of Representatives. The farm is a dairy operation with a farm store with three original buildings still in use.

Leroy R. and Joyce A. Bupp Farm, Seven Valleys – established 1859

Leroy and Joyce Bupp live in the 150-year-old farmhouse built by Leroy’s great-grandfather. Leroy, who is recognized as a conservation pioneer by the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance, began implementing his first conservation plan in 1963. His maternal grandfather and mentor purchased the first no-till planter in York County.

The Bupp’s family dairy farm expanded in 1965 to become Bupplynn Farms. The family preserved the land in 2000, committing the farm to remain forever in productive agriculture.

York County has 52 century and nine Bicentennial Farms.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s nation-leading farmland preservation program and investments in the future of Pennsylvania agriculture, visit agriculture.pa.gov.

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