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A DeLite-ful day on the farm

July 16, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WILLIAMSPORT

Rows of friends and family sat at tables under a large tent south of Williamsport on Saturday, eating lunch, snacking on ice cream and chatting about memories from decades ago.

Farm buildings, dirt lanes and plenty of green fields surrounded them.

The crowd was there to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the seventh-generation Long DeLite Farm off Spielman Road.

Cindy Long said about 185 people, including elected officials, relatives from different states and even the pastors of family members attended the celebration.

"We have so many pastors here today, it's like we're on holy ground," Long said. "This is very exciting."

The family spent about a year planning Saturday's event, which included tours of the farm and hayrides.

The Long family received a Governor's Citation and a citation from the Maryland House of Delegates honoring the farm's 175 years.

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Political guests included Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington; Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington; and Sharpsburg Mayor Hal Spielman.

Long said state Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, was planning to stop by later in the day.

The dairy farm was established in 1831 after Isaac Long Jr. purchased the land.

Since then, the farm has been passed down from father to son.

It now is farmed by Lawrence Long; his son, Galen, 54, who is Cindy's husband; and their son, Brooks, 23.

Lawrence Long turned 83 Saturday.

The family grows hay, barley and corn, and has about 60 milking cows and more than 50 heifers.

Walden Burtner, 82, who lives near Boonsboro, said he used to sell the Longs seed corn.

Burtner attended Saturday's event as a longtime friend, he said.

"Being a farmer, you pretty much more associate with farmers than you would a nonfarmer," Burtner said. "You've got much more in common."

Rhonda Litten of Greencastle, Pa., who is part of the Long family, said her husband, Curtis Litten, has fond memories of visiting the farm as a child.

"This is a great place to be as a child growing up," Litten said.

McKee said he attended the celebration to thank the family for continuing its farming tradition.

The Long family has shown its dedication to agriculture and Washington County's rural heritage, despite the growing difficulties of farming these days, McKee said.

"So I have a lot of admiration for families such as the Longs who stick to it," McKee said. "It's so much easier to hang it up and get out of it than to stay in it."

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