Delaware Department of Agriculture honored four Sussex County families for owning their family farms for 100 years.
All four families were represented in Dover Dec. 3 and were presented with signs honoring their achievements and proclamations from both chambers of the General Assembly.
The honor was part of the department’s Century Farm program. To qualify, the farmer must have owned the land for at least 100 years and have 10 acres of the original parcel or gross more than $10,000 in annual agriculture sales.
Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse said, “Our Century Farms are extremely important, and they help tell a story about the history of Delaware and about what agriculture means to this state. They have been able to keep agriculture going and continue to be the No. 1 industry in the state.”
Among the recipients was the McCabe family of Millsboro. Patriarch Garrison McCabe purchased 100 acres in 1914 for $2,200. McCabe and wife Martha had eight children, and one of them, son John, purchased the farm from his parents in 1918. When John died in 1960, the farm passed to his wife, Ella, who died in 1963. After Ella died, the farm was inherited by Ella’s children, Clarence and Anna. Clarence died in 1979, but Anna owned the farm until her death in 2006. The farm was purchased by her son Michael and his wife, Iris, who still own the farm today.
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Austin Short said the McCabes live in the farmhouse built by John McCabe in 1920 and grow wheat, corn, soybeans and vegetables on 1,200 acres.
Brandon McCabe, who runs the farm, said, “We are going to be super-proud to put that sign out front. It shows the county and the area that we have been here for a hundred years, and we are going to be here for years into the future.”
The department honored the Mihalik family, owners of Oak Haven Farm, located on a 50-acre tract east of Greenwood. The property was purchased by Leroy and Bertha Webb in April 1915 for $750. The Webbs’ son, Woodrow, and his wife, Florence, purchased the farm in 1960 and transferred the land to Florence’s grandson Mark Mihalik in 2017. The Mihalik farm grows corn, soybeans, vegetables and timber.
Also honored was the Truitt family, owners of a 50-acre farm east of Seaford. Founded in 1918 by Allison Henry Mumford, who paid $2,000 for two adjoining parcels, Mumford and his wife, Minnie, sold the property to their son, Roland, and his wife, Myrtle, in 1947. Their daughter, Connie Truitt, acquired a controlling interest in the farm in 2002, and with her husband, Craig, operates the farm as Mumford and Truitt Farms. The farm yields corn, soybeans, wheat, strawberries, watermelons and cantaloupes, supplemented by a poultry house.
Finally, the department honored Thomas and Elizabeth Warren of Georgetown. The Warrens operate a 112-acre farm that contains land originally purchased in 1871. The original owner, Hiram Isaacs, sold the property in 1908 to his sister, Sarah, and her husband, Elzey Wilson. They sold the farm to their son, Josh, who then transferred it to his son, Sudler. After Sudler’s death in 1997, the farm was managed by his son, Nelson, who then transferred it to his son, Thomas, in 2002.