National Agricultural Day honors their deep-rooted dedication
National Agricultural Day on Tuesday offers an optimal time to celebrate the long and distinguished tradition of Chester County farming – an industry that dates back to Colonial days.
Farming remains Pennsylvania’s largest industry, and Chester County produces the second highest agricultural revenue in the state, according to he Chester-Delaware County Farm Bureau. That production helps keep U.S. food costs lower – 6.9 percent of total household income – than many other countries, the bureau said, citing a 13.5 percent cost in France.
The bureau points out that not only do farmers help the region economically but they also sustain the rural environment that Chester Countians enjoy, and the equine farms provide numerous recreational and sporting opportunities.
Typical of the local agricultural effort is Meadow Springs Farm in Kennett Square, which is run by Jamie Hicks and his cousin, Peter, a bureau news release said. Fourth-generation farmers, they formed Hicks Brothers LLC in 2005, after purchasing the business from Jamie’s father, William “Billy” Hicks, and uncle, Robert “Bobby” Hicks.
Much of the land on which the cousins grow corn, soybeans, wheat/rye and double crop soybeans/sunflowers and hay is preserved, and so they work with such organizations as Natural Lands Trust, Brandywine Valley Association and the Brandywine Conservancy. They also employ recycling and other environmentally-responsible practices, such as reduced tilling to enhance the soil and the use of mushroom compost rather than synthetic fertilizer.
The Chester-Delaware County Farm Bureau, which is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation. is a voluntary organization that works to advance the interests of agriculture and rural communities by working with policy makers at state and federal levels and sponsoring educational programs.