Century Farm Families
1970, the North Carolina State Fair undertook the
largest agricultural project in the fair’s history. To highlight the theme
of its 1970 State Fair, "Salute to Agriculture," State Fair officials
initiated a search for all families who have owned or operated a farm
in North Carolina for 100 years or more. More than 800 farms qualified
as a Century Farm.
Century Farm families
were honored at a luncheon held in Dorton Arena at the 1970 N. C. State
Fair. Agriculture Commissioner, Jim Graham, emceed the event and Lt. Governor
Pat Taylor was the featured speaker. The Commissioner congratulated the
families for their contributions to North Carolina. "The strength and
depth of North Carolina lies with you people who have held the family
farm together. You are the fountain head of our economy."
In 1975, Century Farm
families were honored again at a luncheon held in the Kerr Scott building.
The late comedian Jerry Clower provided entertainment. More than 750 Century
Farm families attended the event. Thus began the tradition of periodically honoring
Century Farm Families during the State Fair.
Century Farms continue
to be recognized in North Carolina. In 1988, a commemorative book, North
Carolina Century Farms: 100 Years of Continuous Agricultural Heritage, was published. This book provided a history of century farms in North
Carolina. Every Century Farm family received a copy.
Today, there are about
52,000 farms in North Carolina, but only about 1,600 have the distinct
honor of being a N.C. Century Farm. North Carolina has a rich agricultural
heritage and the Century Farm family program celebrates the many contributions
farming has made to the state.