Iowa farms that reach a milestone of 100 or 150 years under the same family can qualify for a special honor.
The Century (100-year) and Heritage (150-year) Farm Program recognizes those achievements during an award ceremony at the Iowa State Fair.
Our family farm in rural Chelsea received the honor a few years ago, making a memorable day for my uncle and other members of our family.
Here is more about the program from Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey:
DES MOINES –Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged eligible farm owners to apply for the 2014 Century and Heritage Farm Program. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau and recognizes families that have owned their farm for 100 years in the case of Century Farms and 150 years for Heritage Farms.
“These awards are an opportunity to recognize the hard work and commitment by these families that is necessary to keep a farm in the same family for 100 or 150 years,” Northey said. “If you consider all the challenges and unexpected obstacles each of them would have had to overcome during their life on the farm, it gives you a greater appreciation of the dedication and perseverance of each of the families being recognized.”
Applications are available on the Department’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov by clicking on the Century Farm or Heritage Farm link under “Hot Topics.”
Applications may also be requested from Becky Lorenz, Coordinator of the Century and Heritage Farm Program via phone at 515-281-3645, email at Becky.Lorenz@IowaAgriculture.gov or by writing to Century or Heritage Farms Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Henry A. Wallace Building, 502 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319.
Farm families seeking to qualify for the Century or Heritage Farms Program must submit an application to the Department no later than June 1, 2014.
The ceremony to recognize the 2014 Century and Heritage Farms is scheduled to be held at the Iowa State Fair on Tuesday, August 12th.
The Century Farm program began in 1976 as part of the Nation’s Bicentennial Celebration and 17,851 farms from across the state have received this recognition. The Heritage Farm program was started in 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the Century Farm program, and 650 farms have been recognized.
Last year 365 Century Farms and 67 Heritage Farms were recognized.
“Century and Heritage Farm recognitions at the Iowa State Fair are a great celebration of Iowa agriculture and the families that care for the land and produce our food,” Northey said. “I hope eligible families will take the time to apply and then come to the State Fair to be recognized.”