The Smith and Wilson families, owners of the Wil-Low-S at Lowe Point farm in Pylesville, were among those from across Maryland honored as Century Farm families Monday by Gov. Larry Hogan.
The Century Farm Program is an initiative of the Maryland Department of Agriculture to recognize families who have worked the same farm for at least 100 years, according to a news release from the department.
"By passing down farming as a way of life from generation to generation, each of our six honorees has played a significant role in continuing agriculture as the leading industry in Maryland,” Hogan said. “We are incredibly grateful for all of our Maryland farms, and are proud to celebrate six very special farm families that represent the absolute best of Maryland agriculture.”
The Wil-Low-S farm, of Harford County, is owned by Ruth Ann Lowe Smith, her daughter Jennifer Wilson and Wilson’s husband, Adam. Wilson’s great-great-grandfather, Rufus Low, purchased the property in 1902.
The farm passed from Low, who lived to be almost 101 years old, to his son, Henry Lowe — Henry added an "e" to his last name, which was passed on to succeeding generations, according to Wilson.
Low’s grandson, Harry Lowe, was the third generation of the family to own and operate the farm. Wilson’s mother, Ruth Ann Smith, is the fourth generation, and Wilson and her husband, Adam, are the fifth generation. They have two children, Lillian and Samuel, who would be the sixth-generation owners, according to Wilson.
There are multiple structures on the farm, including a farmhouse dating to 1903 plus a corn crib, granary, smoke house and wagon shed that predate the dwelling, according to a news release from the agriculture department. Another structure still standing is a bank barn that was built in 1916, according to the release.
The current owners raise hay and row crops. Apples and peaches have been raised there in the past, as well as livestock such as beef and dairy cattle, chickens and hogs, according to the MDA release.
The other farms honored Monday include Chaffey Farm and Jeptha Hayman Farm in Somerset County, Evergreen Heritage Center in Allegany County, White Hall Farm in Calvert County and Poplar Springs Farm in Charles County, according to the governor’s office release.
Nearly 200 farming families have been recognized through the Century Farm Program since it began in 1994. Twenty-seven families who have maintained the same operation for 200 years have received the Bicentennial Farm designation and there are four Tricentennial Farm families who have kept their farms for 300 years, according to the release.