Commissioners present agriculture awards

King's Pumpkin Farm of Parkesburg was one of two winners of agricultural awards from the Chester County Commissioners.

King’s Pumpkin Farm of Parkesburg — named Farmer of the Year — was one of two winners of agricultural awards from the Chester County Commissioners.

WEST CHESTER — The Chester County Board of Commissioners, along with the Agricultural Development Council (Ag Council), presented two agricultural awards at the Commissioners’ Meeting this week.

The Farmer of the Year award was presented to Elias and Rebecca King of King’s Pumpkin Farm in Parkesburg.  The Kings are the Ag Council’s first ever Amish winners of the Farmer of the Year award. 

The Distinguished Agricultural Service award was given to Sara Manning who worked for the American Mushroom Institute for over 20 years before her retirement earlier this year.

Elias and Rebecca King open their approximately 70-acre Parkesburg farm every fall to thousands of visitors for pumpkin picking right off the vine. King’s Pumpkin Farm also offers the opportunity to explore an elaborate corn maze, feed farm animals in the petting zoo and purchase a variety of locally produced farm products in the farm store.  In addition to the aspects of the farm that are open to the public on a seasonal basis, the Kings grow corn, soybeans and wheat, and operate a dairy in partnership with Elias’ sister, her husband and their family who also live on the farm.

The Kings were represented at the Commissioners’ meeting by Chester County Open Space Preservation Agricultural Programs Coordinator Geoff Shellington. 

Shellington, who nominated the Kings for the award on behalf of the Open Space Department said, “We nominated the Kings for their commitment to farming and to their community. We are impressed by their dedication to conservation practices like no-till cover cropping in the fields and strategic grazing practices for the dairy cows. Elias and Rebecca also play an important role in their community, creating a welcoming atmosphere for area residents and their children on the farm.” 

“The Kings exemplify all the criteria the Council looks for in a Farmer of the Year winner,” said Ag Council Director Hillary Krummrich.  “They serve as role models for their industry, employ good conservation practices and have developed innovative ways to maintain and grow their thriving farm business.”

The Distinguished Agricultural Service award winner, Sara Manning played an integral role bringing mushroom growers together through her many outreach efforts at the American Mushroom Institute. 

“Of particular note, Manning advocated for critical workplace safety initiatives that have helped bring safety training to mushroom house employees through creative means like convenient, portable iPhone applications,” commented Hillary Krummrich. “Her passion and enthusiasm for the mushroom industry will be sorely missed by her colleagues across the county and beyond.”

The Chester County Farmer of the Year Award is presented to a deserving individual or family that exemplifies outstanding farm practices, has an innovative operation and keen business sense, and who runs a well-maintained farm.  

The Distinguished Agricultural Service award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to, and provided exceptional service for the Chester County agricultural community. 

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