Harford County 250th Anniversary: Officials And Residents Celebrate Century-Old Legacy Farms


A crowd of over 300 people gathered for the event, including Legacy Farm families, many of which were represented by four generations. (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

HARFORD COUNTY - Harford County paid tribute to its rich agricultural heritage at a celebration at the Harford Equestrian Center, recognizing 61 family farms owned by the same lineage for at least a century.

A crowd of over 300 people gathered for the event, including Legacy Farm families, many of which were represented by four generations. Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Atticks, County Executive Bob Cassilly, and State Senator Jason Gallion were among the speakers.

"It's amazing that Harford has at least 61 legacy farms, including ten that are older than the county itself. By recognizing and honoring these farms, Harford County seeks to promote the preservation of agricultural lands, maintain our rural character, and protect our agricultural heritage for future generations," Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly said.

The oldest farm recognized at the ceremony, Ruff's Chance Farm, dates back to 1684, when Henry Ruff acquired it in Bel Air. Spanning 200 acres, this preserved farm is currently managed by Jonathan Ruff, marking the ninth generation of the Ruff family to oversee its grain and beef cow/calf operations.

"Farm life is hard… It takes a special person to love the land in those seasons when it doesn't love you back. It takes a special person to dig deep into their soul and press on against all odds to keep the farm going for the next generation. It's grit. It's passion. It's love. And that is what we're really celebrating," Jennifer Wilson, a Legacy Farm owner and an agricultural land preservation planner for Harford County, said.

This ceremony was initiated by the Farmers & Community Partnership of Harford County in recognition of Harford County's 250th-anniversary celebrations. Now in its fifth year, the partnership brings together local farmers and the community, aiming to address prevalent challenges faced by agricultural producers and consumers alike. Notable partners in this collaborative effort include Harford Community College, Harford County Government, and Harford Land Trust.

Harford County will continue accepting online applications for the Legacy Farm recognition till October 15, 2023, as part of the anniversary celebrations. To qualify as a Harford Legacy Farm, a property must retain at least 10 acres from the original purchase and remain under active cultivation.

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