Since the land of Iowa was opened up to settlers in 1833, agriculture has been the heart of the state. The family farm represents the traditions and heritage upon which the state of Iowa was built. Today, those individuals and families, who followed in the footsteps of their ancestors, and who continue to produce crops and livestock on that same land, are honored by an annual awards program administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture. It is the Century and Heritage Farm Program.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is reminding eligible farm owners that the deadline to apply for the 2015 Century and Heritage Farm Program is June 1, 2015. The program recognizes families who have owned their farm for 100 years in the case of Century Farms and 150 years for Heritage Farms. "It's no easy task to keep a farm in the same family ownership for 100 years or more," he says. "It takes a lot of work and dedication to agriculture, and those families and their farms deserve to be recognized for all they've done for our state over the years."
Applications must be submitted no later than June 1 to qualify
"The deadline for families with a Century or Heritage farm application is quickly approaching and I hope those with an eligible farm will take the time to apply," Northey says. "This program is a great way to highlight the deep history and strong heritage of agriculture in our state."
Farm families with a century or heritage farm must submit an application to the Iowa Department of Agriculture no later than June 1, 2015 to qualify for recognition this year. Applications are available on the department's website at 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, or 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.
Century Farm program began in 1976, Heritage began in 2006
The program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. The ceremony to recognize the 2015 Century and Heritage Farms and the families representing them is scheduled to be held at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday, August 20.
The Century Farm program began in 1976 as part of the U.S. Bicentennial Celebration and since then 18,328 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 736 farms have been recognized. Last year 344 Century Farms and 86 Heritage Farms were recognized with these awards at the 2014 Iowa State Fair.