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Cogan Station operation latest to earn title of century farm

Century farm

PHOTO PROVIDED Russell C. Redding, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Nick Troutman, Senator Gene Yaw’s Office; Edward Stockert; Scott Wheeland; Bonnie Wheeland; Megan Stockert and Doug Wolfgang, Director, Bureau of Farmland Preservation.

The Cogan Station Farm of Scott and Bonnie Wheeland, which has been in the Wheeland Family since 1882, has received the “Century Farm” Award through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s nation-leading Farmland Preservation Program.

State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, and his staff made the announcement at the 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.

The Wheelands brought photos of Scott’s ancestors to the ceremony to put the focus on family members whose hard work had established the farm his family runs today.

“I wanted to honor them because they deserve the award just as much, if not more, than me and my family,” Scott Wheeland said.

“They’re the ones who started it, who did all the hard work when they farmed with horses and that’s why I wanted them there in spirit when we received this award,” he said.

The farm was originally purchased by Scott’s great-great-uncle, George Harmon, along with his wife Margaret Wheeland Harmon, in 1882.

After 21 years, the couple sold the farm to Scott’s great-grandparents, Harrison D. Wheeland and Ellen Harmon Wheeland. Scott’s grandparents, Harrison and

Margaret Wheeland bought the property in 1924 for $5,000.

Harrison and Margaret sold the produce that they grew, along with eggs and bacon goods, each Saturday at the former Williamsport Grower’s Market located on Market Street. They also sold homemade butter.

“I was around my grandparents. My grandmother had a stand in the growers market. She would bake all week — bread, cookies, sticky buns, biscuits — and then sell them every Saturday at the growers market. I have memories of tagging along with her on a Saturday and staying with her there,” he said.

He shared fond memories of being on his grandparents’ farm as a child.

“I always palled around with my dad. My dad pretty much helped my grandparents do a lot of the farming here. That’s how I got involved; I would ride on the tractor with them. Even combining grain, I would ride right in the bin with the combine. And if Dad was plowing, I would be standing there on the running board holding on to the fender,” he said.

His grandparents ran the farm for more than five decades until passing it down to Scott’s parents, Dale and Connie Wheeland, in 1982.

Scott and Bonnie purchased the property from his parents in 2004 and are still farming today.

The original property consisted of 134 acres, but today only 87.33 of those original acres are still in use. The family currently grows corn, hay, soy beans and wheat. They also have a beef cattle operation.

The Century and Bicentennial Farm program was established by the Pennsylvania Department of agriculture to help promote the strength and durability of Pennsylvania’s farm families. In order to qualify, a family member must live on the farm on a permanent basis, and the farm must include at least 10 acres of the original holding or grows more than $1,000 annually from the sale of farm products.

“The Wheeland family truly represents what makes Pennsylvania agriculture great,” Yaw said. “They have provided homegrown food straight from the farm for over a century. It is certainly an extraordinary accomplishment and I commend them on receiving this award.”

During the ceremony, the family received a sign identifying the property as having historic status.

Wheeland voiced his hope that his daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Ed stockert, will some day take over the farm and carry on the family tradition.

Lycoming County is home to 70 century farms and one bicentennial farm.

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