Tommy Unruh introduced the New Castle County Farm Bureau’s Farm Family of the Year, the William Alfree Family, honoring Bill and Susan Alfree, of Middletown, at an annual meeting and banquet held Oct. 9 at Townsend Fire Hall.

Bill Alfree has been a member of Delaware Farm Bureau since 1994 and has served as a New Castle County delegate to the annual meeting for several years.

The family’s Deer Crossing Farm was established in the early 1970s. When his father retired

in 1978, Alfree started farming on his own. Alfree currently tills about 1,400 acres of hay, straw, soybeans and corn. One farm he tills is St. Andrew’s School farm, where his grandfather was born in the late 1800s.

The Alfrees have two daughters and four grandchildren. The Alfrees’ sons-in-law help when needed, and their daughters, when growing up, helped.

“The person who keeps the farming operation going is Susan,” Unruh said. “She can be seen raking and baling hay on any given day. Susan also has the huge responsibility of manager of the farm office and all the paperwork. Susan also works full-time at M&T Bank in Middletown.”

Bill currently serves on the board of directors of Southern States in Middletown. In 2016, he was second-place state winner in the Dekalb corn yield contest, and in 2015, he won the New Castle Conservation District Cooperator of the Year award.

NCCFB President Stewart Ramsey presented the 2017 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award to former County Executive Tom Gordon. Gordon served as county executive from 1997 to 2004 and from 2012 to 2016.

Born in Wilmington, Gordon earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wilmington University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the U.S. Secret Service Program.

Open space and parklands were on the top of Gordon’s to-do list. In 2003, he announced the first fully funded New Castle County Farmland Preservation Program.

“Many landowners and farmers have benefited from Gordon’s foresight and dedication to preserve New Castle County’s agriculture industry for future generations,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey presented two checks from the 2017 Milk Run 5K Run/Walk: $7,130 to the Ministry of Caring’s “Milk For Children Fund” and $1,000 to The Neighborhood House Inc. in Middletown.

NCCFB donated $1,000 to the 4-H Foundation. Ramsey noted the funds would go toward youth dairy programs, in memory of Herman Wallace “Hap” Cook Jr., owner and operator of H.W. Cook and Sons, a family dairy farm in Newark, who passed away in September.

State Farm Bureau President Kitty Holtz reminded farmers deer damage data is needed before Delaware Farm Bureau goes to the legislature for help.

Rate of Gain winners recognized by Councilman Bill Powers were Andrew Shaffer, son of Denis and Brenda Shaffer, of Middletown, for his 4-H market hog; and Darren Jester, son of Heather Jester, of Townsend, for his 4-H goat.

Women’s Committee Chair June Unruh announced that Helena Kirk will represent NCCFB as youth ambassador.