3 families set for century farm honors at fair

July 31, 2016 GMT

LISBON - Three families that farm over a combined 900 acres of crops in Columbiana County will be recognized for their dedication to agriculture during the fair’s opening ceremonies on Monday.

County Recorder Theresa Bosel, who will present the Century and Bicentennial Farms award, said this year’s honorees are the Greenisen family of Salem, the Lippincott family of Minerva and the Bates family of Lisbon.

“Without fail, they are the most humble and generous and giving families you’ll ever meet. They have a work ethic that is amazing, and their integrity is beyond reproach. There is just something about a farmer. There are no vacations, there are no sick days,” she said.

The 106-acre Greenisen farm off Depot Road in Salem started as a dairy farm, then shifted to hogs and chickens before becoming a crop farm.

The farm was rented for eight years before being purchased by the family in 1916 and is currently owned by Phil and Marge Greenisen.

“It’s the most beautiful property I have ever seen. They have a sugar house on the property, where they make their own maple syrup, and beautiful horses,” Bosel said.

The family now farms mostly hay and straw and leases a portion of the property to local farmers for row crops, she said.

Four generations have lived on the property, although the Greenisens are the third generation to actually own the farm, she added.

Phil and Marge met at the University of Cincinnati while he was studying engineering and she was studying nursing. They have been married 49 years and have two adult children.

Bosel said that unlike most farms, the Greenisen farm has remained 106 acres throughout the entire family history.

Phil’s father and great-grandfather have both been inducted into the county’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Neil and Carol Lippincott currently farm more than 750 acres of land, 371 of which they own.

The farm has operated as a dairy farm, poultry farm and pig farm over the years and is currently a crop farm for corn, beans and some rye.

Bosel said the farm has adjusted over the years based on the market.

Interestingly, the farm was originally deeded to the family by President James Madison, she added.

“He has built an empire for his son and his grandson,” Bosel said of Neil’s work. “He definitely has a legacy to leave his family.”

The couple have been married 30 years and share six children, some stepchildren from prior marriages. They met in a dance hall in Boardman.

“They have frequently been seen over the years at different dance halls. Apparently they can cut a rug pretty good,” Bosel said.

Nanette and Larry Bates own 61 acres of farm two miles west of Lisbon on state Route 30.

The farm has been in the family since March of 1915.

Like the other farms, it originally began as a dairy farm and is now a crop farm for hay, corn and oats.

In addition to taking care of the farm, which they purchased from Larry’s grandparents several years ago, Larry and Nanette both work full-time jobs.

Larry is a machinist for Advantage Machine in Salem, and Nanette is a registered nurse at the Tobin Center. They have two children, a daughter and a son, who is deceased, and five grandchildren.

The couple purchased the farm from Larry’s grandparents, Clifford and Alma Shaw about 38 years ago.

The history of the farm has been mostly recorded by Larry’s aunts, Ruthann Bailey, Margie Pannier, Jo Ann Harris, Karen Sadler and Sandy Boyce, as well as his mother, Eleanor Bates.

“This is my favorite part of the job,” Bosel said. “I want them to know how much it means to me to get out and spend a day with the families. It’s an honor to get to know these incredible people.”

The Century and Bicentennial Farms award is a program available through the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

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