By Susan Able
Governor Larry Hogan honored 34 Maryland farming families who have farmed the same land for over 100 years, including the Tilghman family from Queen Anne's County who have been farming for over 300 years in Maryland. Each family was presented with a large sign designating their farm as a Maryland Century Farm at an awards ceremony January 17 in Annapolis.
The Maryland Century Farm Program was initiated by Gov. William Schaefer in 1994 to recognize family farms who have passed their farmlands and farm operations from generation to generation, creating a strong tradition and preserving Maryland land for agricultural use. Agriculture is a large economic driver for Maryland, the state currently has 12,200 farms averaging 166 acres in size with a gross annual income of $2 billion.
"It's no accident that our state seal has a farmer and a fisherman. Agriculture is a huge part of our history, culture and economy," Governor Hogan said. He thanked the farmers for coming to Annapolis from the 18 counties they represented, and continued "Your leadership and contributions help Maryland agriculture to thrive and it's my honor to celebrate the 34 families here who represent the best."
Interesting details on the Hermitage were provided by the Maryland Department of Agriculture: The Hermitage was granted to the Tilghman family by Charles Calvert in 1658 and is currently owned and operated by Ben and Paige Tilghman. The original parcel consisted of 400 acres and has grown to 879 acres with half of the land in grain crops and half in timber. The original farmhouse no longer stands, however the current home dates back to 1780. Along with the farm, there are many buildings dating back to late 1800s including various tenant houses, stables, corn cribs and an ice house. The farm enterested into the conservation easement program run by the Maryland Environmental Trust in 1977.