With the support of generous sponsors and over 250 attendees, Lancaster Farmland Trust’s “Saving the Land We Love” annual dinner and silent auction raised over $125,000 for farmland preservation.
A live “Acres for Auction” event garnered $62,000 of the total amount. Acres for Auction featured two farms in Rapho Township; 52 acres are owned by Earl and Sandra Geib and 42 acres are owned by Barry and Dawn Geib. Attendees bid to preserve the two properties by giving $125 to preserve a quarter acre, $250 for a half acre, or $500 for a full acre.
The Geib brothers both recently decided to preserve their farms which are adjacent to each other. The properties were originally owned by Earl and Barry’s father who passed the farms down to his sons. Both farms are located in the Chiques Creek watershed and the brothers grow corn and soybeans.
The event also honored owners of preserved farms and the following awards were presented:
Distinguished Benefactor of the Year:
This award is given to a person or persons whose support for Lancaster Farmland Trust embodies generosity. The recipient is awarded not just on the amount of their support, but also the spirit of generosity that they embody. This year’s recipients are Bernice and Jack Gerhart (posthumously).
Jack and Bernice have been generous supporters of Lancaster Farmland Trust and advocates for farmland preservation in the community. They often shared stories about favorite farms that had been lost to development and their hope that the Trust would be able to preserve what remained.
Although Jack passed away a few months ago, the enthusiastic and generous support he provided over 20 years will have a lasting impact on the Trust.
Amos H. Funk Spirit of Cooperation:
The Amos H. Funk Spirit of Cooperation was developed in 1999 to recognize cooperative efforts among partners to promote land preservation. Regarded as the father of land preservation in Lancaster County, Amos Funk was a tireless leader in land, soil, and water conservation. This award is given to recognize the importance of collaboration in conservation and honor partnerships that make Lancaster County a special place to live and work.
This year’s award is presented to the Lancaster County Conservancy. Both the Conservancy and Lancaster Farmland Trust were founded by Amos Funk and in the years since, the two organizations have worked in partnership on many projects. The Conservancy and the Trust have worked together on four preservation projects that protect both farm and natural lands. Last year, the two organizations collaborated on a flood plain restoration project at Pool Forge on the Conestoga River and, most recently, have come together to provide outreach and education about the proposed Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline.
Volunteer of the Year:
Whether helping at events or serving on the board of trustees and committees, volunteers are the lifeblood of the Trust’s effort. These advocates give their time and efforts to promote farmland preservation in Lancaster County. This award is given to individuals who perform extra effort in service to the Trust during the year.
This year’s recipient is Scott Weaver. Since 2009, Garden Spot Village in New Holland has been our generous host site for Pedal to Preserve, the Trust’s community fundraising event. With about 1000 riders each year, the Trust could not hold this event without the generosity of Garden Spot Village and the leadership skills of Scott Weaver. Scott participates on the Pedal to Preserve planning committee and works with Trust staff for six months prior to the event to make sure it is executed flawlessly. Scott puts in countless hours planning the event and making sure that participants have a wonderful time in a beautiful setting.
Darvin E. Boyd Service to Agriculture:
This award, named for the late Darvin Boyd, is presented to a leader in the community who, through their professional and personal activities, supports farming and raises the status of agriculture in the community.
The Darvin Boyd Service to Agriculture Award is given to Herman Brontrager, Chairman and CEO of Goodville Mutual Casualty Company. Herman has served on numerous non-for-profit boards including current service as chairman of the Clinic for Special Children which serves children with genetically transmitted diseases, especially in the Amish and Mennonite communities. Her has served for over 30 years as Secretary-Treasurer of the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom which assists Amish communities when their way of life is in conflict with sate or federal regulations. The Nickel Mines Amish community asked him to serve as their official spokesperson and liaison to the media after the October 2006 shooting at the Amish school in Nickel Mines
Herman has been a trusted advisor and friend of Lancaster Farmland Trust for many years and currently serves on the Advisory Council as well as the Finance Committee.
The Distinguished Service Award is given to those individuals who have faithfully served as members of Lancaster Farmland Trust’s Board of Trustees. The award is given to the following in honor of their service and commitment to the Trust and farmland preservation:
- David Breniser
- Dennis Grimm
- Jim Lafferty
- Ken Lewis