Century farm has both history and a future

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Michelle Leidy-Franklin/TSnews The members of the Pearce family were presented with the Century Farm Award at the Sumner County Farm Bureau Association annual meeting last month in Wellington.

By Michelle Leidy-Franklin, TSnews

ARGONIA – The Pearce family farm may have turned 100 this year, but it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Carol Pearce and her daughter and son-in-law, Valerie and Larry Wade, accepted the century farm award from the Sumner County Farm Bureau Association annual meeting on Thursday, Aug. 18.
The farm first became part of the Pearce family legacy when William Pearce bought 80 acres from Henry and Lola Fisher in 1922 for $31.23 an acre. William’s son took over in 1985 when Harley and Carol Pearce acquired the property.
In 2017, nine acres of the farm were acquired by Valerie and Larry while Carol remained in possession of the remaining land.
“Valerie and Larry have lived on the farm off and on,” said Carol. “After their jobs took them to Wichita years ago, the original farmhouse was in pretty bad shape and it was burned. Now that they are back on the farm, they have built their own home on the farm.”
Carol said the rest of the farm will go to Valerie after she is gone. She currently rents out her 76 acres to a local farmer that grows wheat and raises cattle. Valerie and Larry use half of their land for their homestead and rent the other half out for agricultural purposes and are finding a renewed love of the family farm.
“What I love the most about the farm is the quietness after living in Wichita,” said Valerie. “I love to watch all the different wildlife that comes through along the creek.”
Right now, the future of the farm is focused on finishing up the shop-house building project that Valerie and Larry are working on. They also have children and grandchildren interested in working the family land.
“Trevor is Valerie and Larry’s grandson and he loves it down here,” said Carol. “He wants the family farm bad.”
Carol said the Pearces already were involved in farming before migrating to Kansas from Tennessee in the early 1900s. Carol and Valerie have both raised families that have a love for rural living and they are confident the family farm will remain in the family for generations to come, especially now that the fifth generation is calling dibs.

The William Pearce farmhouse, as seen in March 1958.
The new chicken coop, built by school boys.
The original family portrait of the Pearce family.