The Iowa Department of Agriculture is encouraging eligible farm owners to apply for the 2015 Century and Heritage Farm Awards program. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau. It recognizes families who have owned their farm for 100 years in the case of Century Farms and for 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," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "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 online or you can request them
Applications are available on the ag department's website by clicking on the Century Farm or Heritage Farm link under "Hot Topics." Applications may also be requested from Becky Lorenz, coordinator of the Iowa Century and Heritage Farm Program. You can call her by phone at 515-281-3645, contact her by email at [email protected] or by writing to her at Century and Heritage Farms Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace Building, 502 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319.
Applications must be postmarked by June 1, 2015 for the farm family to be recognized at the Iowa State Fair. "Farm families seeking to qualify for the Century or Heritage Farms Program must submit an application to the state ag department no later than June 1," says Northey. "The ceremony to recognize the 2015 Century and Heritage Farms is scheduled to be held at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday, August 20."
It's a good idea to get an application and fill it out now
The Century Farm program began in 1976 as part of our nation's Bicentennial Celebration and a total of 18,328 farms from across the state have received this recognition since then. The Heritage Farm program was started in 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the Century Farm program, and 736 farms have been recognized.
Last year 344 Century Farms and 86 Heritage Farms were recognized. "Century and Heritage Farm recognitions at the Iowa State Fair are a great celebration of Iowa agriculture and the families who care for the land and produce our food," Northey says. "I hope eligible families will take the time to apply and then come to the State Fair to be recognized."