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December 1 2011

Press Release: Agriculture Award to Peter Wilken

On Friday, August 5, the Wayne County Historical Society will present its "People Who Make a Difference in Wayne County Agriculture" award to Peter Wilken, also known as "Peddler Pete."

Pete Wilkenࢀ™s connection to agriculture is different from any of the societyࢀ™s past awardees. He has spent fifty years working for GLF and later Agway; the first ten years in a managerial position and forty years (and counting) as a travelling salesman, hence the name "Peddler Pete." Wilkenࢀ™s job was to travel to individual farms to see seeds, lime, fertilizer, soil samples, hay samples and much more. Later, as farmers entered the world of updated technology, he sold electric-powered milk tanks and pipe lines. But according to local farmers, Peter did much more than sales. By going directly to the farms, he saved precious time, bringing farmers knowledge of the latest advances in farm products, advice and even the latest news from other farms in the days before widespread communication. "Peddler Pete" became an institution to the farmers he served.

Peterࢀ™s entire life has been connected to agriculture. He was born and grew up on a Guernsey dairy farm near Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, NY, and earned a degree from Cobleskill Agriculture & Tech College. His career with GLF and Agway took him to Tunkhannock, New Jersey, Carbondale, Milford and finally to Honesdale and Callicoon, his current territory. At a time in life when most people are retired, Peter is still making his rounds and helping farmers. For twenty-five years he has served on the Penn State Extension Board, both at the county and state levels, and has served on the Wayne County Dairy Princess Committee since 2004.

The Wayne County Historical Societyࢀ™s salute to Peter Wilken is scheduled for 30-7 pm on the stage outside the J. B. Park Farm Museum at the Wayne County Fair, on Friday, August 5, 2011. His friends and admirers are invited to attend to honor this true friend of Wayne County agriculture.

Ann Oࢀ™Hara 570-253-5468 yannster@ptd.net