At the state fair again this year, families from all over the state who have worked the land for years will come to be recognized for having Century and Heritage Farms. If you have a farm that is eligible for this award program, you need to sign up now, before June 1.
Each year the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, along with Iowa Farm Bureau, recognize Century and Heritage Farms. Families that have owned their farm for 100 years in case of Century Farms and 150 years for Heritage Farms qualify for this award.
"It's a time when we honor the families that have shown persistence, stewardship, hard work, patience and devotion needed to make a farm succeed," says Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. "Each farm is an example of unique and enduring commitment to Iowa agriculture."
Contact IDALS for registration forms
Large, extended families often arrive from across the state, and even nation, coming to the Iowa State Fair awards ceremony to make sure they are part of the celebration. It's exciting to see three, four and even five generations come together as part of the celebration, says Northey. Signs and matching t-shirts are often made for the festivities.
"Last year we recognized 321 Century Farms and 87 Heritage Farms with a certificate and signs to hang at their farms," he says. "More than 15,900 farms have been recognized through the Century Farm program since it was created in 1976. The Heritage Farm program was created just three years ago and has recognized 259 farms already."
Northey adds, "The Iowa State Fair is a celebration of Iowa and Iowa agriculture, so it's very fitting we are able to recognize the Century and Heritage Farm recipients there. The 2008 Century Farms program ceremony will be held at the State Fair on Tuesday, August 12 and the Heritage Farms program ceremony will be Thursday, August 14. These programs acknowledge the deep roots Iowans have with their families and the special bond that exists between Iowa families and the land they farm. I encourage all eligible farms to apply."
Farm families seeking to qualify for the Century or Heritage Farms Program must submit an application no later than June 1, 2008. The application may be obtained online at www.iowaagriculture.gov/centuryFarmsProgram.asp and www.iowaagriculture.gov/heritageFarmsProgram.asp. Applications may also be requested from Janet Lee, coordinator at 515-281-5323. Or e-mail Janet.firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Janet Lee at Heritage/Century Farms Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace Building, 502 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319