Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is encouraging eligible farm owners to apply for the 2012 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 necessary to keep a farm in the same family for 100 or 150 years," Northey says. "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 these families."
Century and Heritage farm owners in Iowa are encouraged to apply
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 [email protected] or by writing to Century or Heritage Farms Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture & 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 Iowa Department of Ag no later than June 1, 2012. It is important to remember that applications must be postmarked by June 1 to be recognized at the 2012 Iowa State Fair. The ceremony to honor the 2012 Century and Heritage Farms will be held at the State Fair and is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14.
The Century Farm program began in 1976 as part of the Nation's Bicentennial Celebration and over 17,000 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 more than 500 farms have been recognized.Last year 341 Century Farms and 56 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 says. "I hope eligible families will take the time to apply and then come down to the State Fair to be recognized."