GREENE – The Grange Farm Family of the Year Award was presented to Walter and Esther Bates of Bates Dairy Farm in Greene at the Maine State Grange convention in Skowhegan.

Walter starting working on his father’s rented farm at age 10. In 1953 they purchased a farm on Line Road together. Walter joined the Androscoggin Grange 8 at age 18 in 1936 and his wife, Esther, joined in 1941.

They were married in 1941 and had six children. All of them worked on the farm until they graduated except Harold, who began working full time with his father.

Harold’s son, Keith, started working full time on the farm in 2001. Today they milk about 75 head of cattle and sell their milk to Oakhurst Dairy.

The Bates Farm is the only operating farm left in Greene. Walter was recently presented a 70-year Grange membership certificate and Esther a 65-year membership certificate.

Walter and Esther were also grand marshals of the Greene Village Celebration parade in September.

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