From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
I want to use my column this month to talk about the Century Farm Family program that recognizes families whose farms have been in continual ownership for 100 years or more. I am proud to say that we even have some farms that have been owned by the same family for 200 years, an amazing feat.
It is no small task to have continual family ownership of a farm for 100 or more years. Families take a great deal of pride in being a Century Farm Family, and rightly so.
Heavy development pressure in some parts of the state often makes it difficult for families to hang onto the land, particularly as the farms are passed down to the next generation. I have had many offers on my own farm in Guilford County, but I have made it very clear I am not interested in selling.
I hope the farm will remain in my family for many years to come, and hopefully be a place my kids and grandchildren will enjoy.
As part of the Century Farm Family program, we hold a reunion in Raleigh at the State Fair every four years to honor this commitment to the land. It fills me with great pride to see so many families in attendance at the reunion. Agriculture built this state, and I know that these family members represent the hard work, sweat and determination behind that enormous achievement.
Our next reunion is slated for 2016, but between the reunions we continually accept applications for the program. So if your farm becomes eligible for the program, I would encourage you to fill out the application and send it to us.
You will need to provide the names and dates of the ownership of the farm, essentially how it was passed down among family members. Some people research records at the courthouse, and others use family Bibles or other documents that establish the history of ownership. Both forms of information are acceptable.
In the past month, we added a number of farms to the list, including a couple from my home county.
I extend my congratulations to the following farms for becoming Century Farm Families: Yanceyville and Dan River Farms (1815) of Caswell County; Emsley Scott Farm (1848) of Chatham County; Edwards Farm (1854) of Cleveland County; Cole Angus Farm (1877) of Buncombe County; Warriors Ridge Farm (1894) of Pasquotank County; FairBull Farm (1909) of Sampson County; Wilson Kids’ Farm (1909) of Caldwell County; Robert Flake Shaw Jr. Farm (1912) and Gray Family Farm (1913) of Guilford County; and Winn Miller Farm (1914) in Craven County.
As you can see from this list of recently added farms, there are farms in the program from the mountains to the coast, and in a wide range of years of ownership. In fact, all but two counties have at least one Century Farm Family. I would love to see one in all 100 counties, but to date we don’t have any farms in Dare or Graham counties. If anyone knows of eligible farms in these counties, please share this information with the owners.
Families can apply anytime once they have reached 100 years of ownership. Once the application has been processed, you are added to the list of families, your farm name will be on the Century Farm Family website and you will receive notification about upcoming reunions.
If you have any questions about the Century Farm Family program, please don’t hesitate to call our Public Affairs office at 919-707-3001. You can find an application online at www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/century/application.htm.