ANNAPOLIS (January 18, 2018)—Governor Larry Hogan Thursday honored Maryland's farm families for their commitment to farming and leadership in preserving agricultural land by presenting Century Farm designations to nine families from six counties who have farmed the same land for more than 100 years. One farm from southern Maryland was honored—Forest Hall Farm in Mechanicsville, St. Mary's County.
The Forest Hall Farm is a 91-acre farm that originally grew tobacco until 2000. Now the farm produces corn, vegetables, fruits, berries and wine grapes. The family also raises Black Angus cattle along with goats and turkeys. They have 50 hens for eggs and a number of bee hives for honey and pollination. The farm was purchased in 1917 by Joseph A. Wood, the grandfather of current owner Joseph Wood and his wife Mary. The original house was built in 1774 but was unable to be saved. A new house was built on the original footprint in 1990. Today Mary and Joseph's fourth-generation children and fifth-generation grandchildren live on the farm and help run the operation.
"We are proud to celebrate our state's strong agricultural history by honoring our century farms, as well as some of our great Maryland farm families," said Governor Hogan. "Together, we have made incredible progress over the past 3 years, and our farmers and our agriculture community have been an important partner and a key part of that success."
The Maryland Century Farm Program was established in 1994 by Governor William Donald Schaefer to recognize farms that have been in the same family for at least 100 consecutive years, contain a minimum of 10 acres of the original parcel, and gross annual income of $2,500 or more from the sale of farm products. The Century Farm Program honors families who have passed their farming operations down from generation to generation, making it possible for future stewards of the land to continue in their family tradition. Since the program began, 182 farms—about one percent of the state's 12,200 farms—have received the Century Farm designation. Four of those have received the Tricentennial Farm designation and 26 have received the Bicentennial Farm designation.
The Hogan administration re-established this annual tradition last year for Maryland farm families after it had been halted for the past 10 years. The last ceremony was held in 2007.
"The best agricultural preservation program is an economically healthy agriculture industry," said Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder. "Farming has formed the foundation of our nation's economy for hundreds of years. The farm families we honor today are stewards of the land who have maintained family traditions and a continuity of agriculture important to our communities and our economy."
For more information about the Forest Hall Farm, visit forresthallfarm.com/