FARMINGTON – At a small ceremony held at the town office this morning, Town Manager Richard Davis announced the town report would be dedicated to a pair of local, longtime farmers.
L. Herbert “Bussie” York and Brenda Voter York were both born and raised in Franklin County, on separate farms. For the past 50 years, they have owned and operated Sandy River Farm, a collective farming organization which produces organic dairy products and produce.
“You certainly deserve it,” Davis said, handing the Yorks a specially-produced copy of the town report, “for all you’ve done for the town.”
Both Yorks have also been extremely active in the community. Bussie York has served on the local planning board since 1987, and has been the chair of that committee since 1991. He has also been involved with a series of programs and committees dedicated to sustaining the region’s farming traditions. Both Yorks have worked with several major local organizations including the 4-H Dairy program, Farmington Grange, Franklin County Extension Association, Maine Farm Bureau, Maine State Dairy Show and the Tractor and Beef Clubs. Brenda York was named into the Agricultural Hall of Fame at the Skowhegan State Fair, in 1995, for her continuous support of the industry.
Bussie York noted that their support of the community had reaped important returns for the Yorks and their family.
“It’s paid back in a lot of ways that you didn’t expect it to,” York said. “We’ve lived here, we’ve grown up here, we’ve been part of this community.”
An example of the community spirit Bussie York speaks of can be found in the dedication itself, which is chosen and composed by a committee of residents.
“In 1995,” the dedication reads, “Brenda and Bussie suffered the total loss of their home and barn when lightning struck on a summer afternoon. Deciding that they would rebuild, they hosted two weekends of an old-fashioned barn raising and asked for the community’s support. Many Farmington residents, UMF students and friends came to help. This kind of community engagement is rare in our world today and speaks volumes about the role this couple plays in our town.”
The Yorks did not know that the report, whose theme this year is ‘agriculture,’ would be dedicated to them, following a tradition in Farmington. The Yorks were told that a magazine wanted to speak to them about alternative energy and agriculture, one of Sandy River Farm’s many specialties.
Town reports have actually been delayed, having previously been expected yesterday or this morning, but will be available tomorrow afternoon at the town office.