Century Farm program is year-round initiative; farm owners can apply anytime
In 2010, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Century Farm Program will celebrate its 40th year – a milestone, but one significantly shorter than the program’s focus.
The program started in 1970 at the N.C. State Fair with a push to find and honor farms that had been in continuous family ownership for 100 years or more.
Newspaper articles across the state spread the word that there would be a celebration at the State Fair in Raleigh and these farm families would be invited.
That initial effort found more than 800 farms. Today there are roughly 1,600 in the program – an indication that it is still going strong.
The Public Affairs Division handles the paperwork and the event planning for the Century Farm reunions, and staff members get calls throughout the year about when and how people can apply to have their farm included.
“Sometimes people think they can only send in an application in the years when we are holding a reunion, but that is not the case,” said Terri Allen, Century Farm Program manager. “We accept applications year-round, and are regularly adding farms.”
Applications to apply for Century Farm status can be found on the NCDA&CS Web site at www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/century/index.htm. That page includes the application, frequently asked questions, a short history of the Century Farm Program and a list of Century Farms listed by county.
“One of the most common questions we get asked is ‘Do I have to have paper documentation of continual ownership through courthouse records, deeds or the like,’” Allen said. “As long as there is a family record of the 100 years of ownership and how that farm and land have been passed down through generations, we can accept it.”
Once an application is received, it can take several months to be processed. Families receive a Century Farm sign and certificate signed by the Governor, Commissioner of Agriculture and the State Fair manager, and the latest directory of Century Farm family listings.
“It is quite an accomplishment to keep a farm in a family for 100 years or more, and we are extremely proud of these families for their commitment,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Hosting the Century Farm families at the State Fair is one of the events I look forward to.”
For more on the program, go to www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/century/index.htm or call (919) 733-4216.