Farm family lights up the holidays

The Carpenter family of Milton has put their idle farm equipment to use this winter, as a base for their holiday lights. The lights will be lit from 5 p.m. to midnight through Jan. 3.

An agriculture-themed holiday lighting display is turning heads in Sussex County this year.

Delaware Farm Bureau members James and Tammy Carpenter of Milton, James Carpenter’s sister Kay Dukes and their families decided they would not have idle farm equipment during the winter months — instead, they used their tractor and combines as an outline for their holiday lights.

“We got the inspiration from social media, to be honest,” Tammy Carpenter told the Delaware Farm Bureau. “We wanted to bring the joy of Christ to our community in the midst of the challenges our country is facing.”

In their 70 years of farming, the Carpenter family has grown to farm more than 5,000 acres in Sussex County, including sweet corn, soybeans, peas, lima beans and other products. Some of their land has been placed in the farmland preservation program over the years as well.

They were honored in January this year by the Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware with an annual service award. The Carpenters have also been honored as a Delaware Farm Bureau’s Farm Family of the Year in the past.

Their holiday lighting display features 4,000 feet of holiday lights and can be seen from Carpenter Road in Milton. The lights will be on every night from 5 p.m. until midnight, through Jan. 3.

“Give us a honk as you drive by,” Carpenter said. “And remember to give this same equipment consideration when it’s traveling down the road this summer.”

According to Stacey Hofmann at Delaware’s Department of Agriculture, 99 percent of Delaware farms are family-owned.

Delaware Farm Bureau can be found online at