Chester County, Pennsylvania
County of Chester
313 West Market Street
West Chester, PA 19380

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The Board of Chester County Commissioners and the Chester County Agricultural Development Council (ADC) present two annual awards, Farmer of the Year and Distinguished Agricultural Service. The Farmer of the Year award recognizes a farmer, farm family, partnership, etc., who maintains and exemplifies outstanding farming practices. The Distinguished Agricultural Service award honors an individual(s) who has positively promoted, made significant contributions to, or provided exceptional services for the Chester County agricultural community.

If interested in nominating someone that deserves recognition in these areas, please complete the Farmer of the Year nomination form and/or the Distinguished Agricultural Service nomination form. The ADC will review each nomination and select a recipient.

This year, the ADC presented the Farmer of the Year award to Robert Lange of Sugartown Strawberries and the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award to longtime ADC board member Robert Ray.

See why Farmer Bob was selected as the 2014 Farmer of the Year!
Farmer of the Year
2014 Farmer of the Year Award
Robert Lange

Distinguished Service
2014 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award
Robert Ray

This year marks the first time that anyone has been the recipient of both the Farmer of the Year award and the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award as Robert Lange won the service award in 1996 for his work to successfully lobby for improved estate tax laws for agricultural properties. In addition to his lobbying work, Lange is a hugely popular figure in Chester County agriculture and his Sugartown Strawberries operation hosts approximately 5,000 school children a year. He grows a variety of produce including pumpkins, sunflowers, and of course, strawberries. Portions of the farm are in agricultural preservation and he employs a variety of conservation practices to protect and manage the natural resources on the property.

Although the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award winner Robert Ray retired from his own dairy business in 1994, he still grows hundreds of pounds of produce to donate to the Chester County Food Bank. Until last year, Ray drove the tractor at Highland Orchards, giving tours of the property and educating thousands of visitors about the importance of agriculture. In 2000, he conveyed 40 acres to Wallace Township to be turned into a public park. A past director of Chester-Delaware County Farm Bureau and volunteer school educator, Ray has spent much of life increasing public awareness of the importance of local agriculture.

 Year Farmer of the Year
Distinguished Service to Agriculture
 2014 Robert Lange Robert Ray
 2013 Drs. Thomas and Barbara Schaer
Peter Flynn
Daniel Miller
 2012 Dave and Roberta Roteller

Larry Welsch
Terry Brett
 2011 Ike and Lisa Kerschner
David Hodge
Joseph Fecondo
 2010 Steve Castorani
Jane Pepple
 2009 Norman Laffey Family and
Anthony and Karen Vietri
Nancy L. Mohr
Joseph and Ben Cordivano Donald (Buster) Needham 
 2007 Stan and Cathy Guest   Charles Harris 
 2006 Karen Vollmecke
John Arrell 
 2005 I. Glen Engle Family
Dennis Byrne
 2004 Phillips Mushroom Farm
Betsy Huber
 2003 Angelo J. Zunino and Son Inc.  Charles L. Roten 
 2002 Knight Run Farm  George and Sue Lamborn 
 2001 Walmoore Holsteins, Inc.  Arthur Hershey 
 2000 Gottlieb Strohmaier Family  Gary W. Smith 
 1999 David Lantz Family  Cheryl Fairbairn 
 1998 The Raymond Harnish Family  Furman Gyger, Jr. 
 1997 Tim Barlow and Ben Beiler
 1996 Matthews Family Robert Lange 
 1995 Rosazza Family  Hoopes family 
 1994 Omar and Nelson Beam families  G. Pownall Jones 
 1993 Yeatman Bros.  Charlie Brosius 
 1992 Horace/Hazel Walton  Charlie Gable 
 1991 Ken/Marilyn Umble  Hoopes Yarnall Family 
 1990 Bill Beam  Harold Kulp 
 1989 Mason Brothers  Charlie Wollaston 

Chester County