Downes War­ren fam­ily will be hon­ored at fair

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DONNA LAN­DIS-SMITH

INGLESIDE — A fam­ily name can carry for­ward through many generations, which is where Downes War­ren got his birth name. His given name is his pa­ter­nal grandmother’s maiden name.

The Downes fam­ily es­tab­lished them­selves in the Ingleside area in the 1800s. There is a road near Ingleside, Ell Downes Road, which was named after his fore­fa­ther Eldridge Downes. The War­ren side of the fam­ily was es­tab­lished in the 1600s in the Fel­ton, Del., area. A long-stand­ing tra­di­tion of farming on both sides of his fam­ily des­tined War­ren to farm for a liv­ing.

Even though War­ren was born and grew up in Fel­ton, his fa­ther had al­ways wished for him to farm in Queen Anne’s County be­cause the soil was bet­ter.

He fondly re­mem­bers his child­hood and his par­ents be­ing very giv­ing, he and his sis­ters be­ing spoiled in a “good way.” His fa­ther would say, “chil­dren should be chil­dren and you’ll have plenty of time to work in your life.”

War­ren’s mother was a school teacher and would al­ways en­cour­age him to read and learn from books and to dis­cover what was out in the world. His fa­ther would not al­low him to ride on the trac­tors when he was lit­tle. He told his son, “you’ll have

plenty of time to spend on those trac­tors, but not now.”

Asked if he kept any of the old trac­tors his fa­ther had, War­ren laughed and said “No! They had no cabs or air con­di­tion­ing and the nos­tal­gia of old trac­tors went away very quickly.”

While grow­ing up in Delaware, he helped his fa­ther on the farm till­ing around 1,800 acres and trav­eled to Queen Anne’s to till the land they owned where he now lives. He and his par­ents pur­chased farms that had once been owned by the Downes fam­ily. His great-grand­fa­ther Steven Downes had three daugh­ters, and each of them in­her­ited a farm — one of them was his grandmother. His two great-aunts and his grandmother

helped guide War­ren’s fa­ther and give him ad­vice on how to op­er­ate the farms.

Over the years of op­er­at­ing the land in Delaware and Mary­land, War­ren and his fa­ther de­ter­mined that new equip­ment was much more ef­fi­cient and re­li­able. His fa­ther would say, “We can do more in one day, with new equip­ment, than what I could get done in a week with old equip­ment.” At a time when they were at their largest farming op­er­a­tion, they were till­ing ap­prox­i­mately 2,500 acres.

In 1980, War­ren be­gan farming the land in Queen Anne’s County and moved to his home farm in 1984. The home farm, where he stills re­sides, had no ir­ri­ga­tion and no crop insurance. In 1985, War­ren and his fa­ther de­cided to start changing farming prac­tices by in­stalling their first ir­ri­ga­tion piv­ots.

“Till less, ir­ri­gate more,” was their new motto. “Farming is a chal­lenge: the weather,

crop prices and mar­ket­ing can all be in your fa­vor and most of time not in your fa­vor,” War­ren said.

“My mother and fa­ther taught me many things, one of those is the love of read­ing books. My mother and fa­ther en­cour­aged me to read and learn from what I had read. I carry a book with me in the trac­tor and truck, when I’m wait­ing in line to un­load my crop, I read,” War­ren said.

His fa­ther was so proud that War­ren had an in­ter­est in the land and wanted to farm. He taught him, “sur­round your­self with good peo­ple and don’t worry about what peo­ple think of you, you know the truth.”

He keeps him­self busy with keep­ing 14 ir­ri­ga­tion piv­ots run­ning, plant­ing his tra­di­tional grain crops and di­ver­si­fy­ing the farm op­er­a­tion by plant­ing spinach, peas and oc­ca­sion­ally string beans.

War­ren is a very hum­ble per­son and was adamant about giv­ing credit to his

friends and neigh­bors who helped him be­come suc­cess­ful. He said next door neigh­bors, the Higgs fam­ily, lo­cal friends Rod Caw­ley, Mike Bos­tic and busi­ness owner of Boyle Broth­ers, Gene Boyle, have all had a pos­i­tive im­pact on the suc­cess of his farm. He be­lieves in pa­tron­iz­ing lo­cal busi­nesses and keep­ing it hum­ble.

War­ren is very proud of his chil­dren, Downes III and Emily. Emily is in her first year of col­lege at Delaware Val­ley and is ma­jor­ing in agri­cul­ture. He hopes that Emily will keep her love of the farm and be suc­cess­ful in what­ever field she chooses.

Though a quiet man, he is proud of what his fam­ily has been able to ac­com­plish over many years of hard work and per­se­ver­ance. He men­tioned he sees some up and com­ing young farm­ers who he hopes will carry on the tra­di­tion as hon­est, hard­work­ing ste­wards of the land.


Farmer Downes War­ren will be hon­ored dur­ing the county’s 4-H Fair in Cen­tre­ville on Wed­nes­day, Aug. 10.

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