Thursday during Penn State’s Ag Progress days, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding honored Charlotte E. Sunday, whose Lenhartsville, Berks County farm reached the Bicentennial Farm milestone, having been in her family since 1822. Redding also honored 17 families whose farms earned Century Farm status for being in the same family for 100 years.
Families from Armstrong, Berks, Blair, Centre, Columbia, Erie, Fulton, Jefferson, Juniata, Northumberland, Perry, Somerset, and York counties have earned the designation for their commitment to feeding Pennsylvania and sustaining our economy.
“These families have devoted their lives and their legacies to feeding their neighbors here and around the world,” said Secretary Redding.
“They are stewards, protecting our land, water and soil, and inspiring the future generations that will put food on our tables. 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.”
Since the Century Farm program’s inception in 1977 and 2004 when the Bicentennial Farm program began, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has recognized nearly 2,300 farms. Farms receive a sign they can post on their property noting the designation.
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.
In Berks County, Charlotte E. Sunday’s Bicentennial farm in Lenhartsville was purchased by her late husband George Suntag’s great, great, great grandfather in 1820 for $2.93 an acre. Of the original 192-plus acres, 156.1 acres and some original farm buildings are still in use on the crop and heifer farm. The farm was preserved in 2020 to remain a productive farm perpetually.
Robert D. Yanos’ Douglassville Farm was purchased by his grandfather in 1921. He still raises beef and grows crops on the original 86 acres.
Berks County is home to 34 century and 11 bicentennial farms.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s nation-leading farmland preservation program, visit agriculture.pa.gov.