AL Department of Agriculture now accepting Century & Heritage - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

AL Department of Agriculture now accepting Century & Heritage farm applications

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The Department of Agriculture and Industries is now accepting applications for the 2013 Century and Heritage Farm program. This program is designed to recognize and honor those farms that have been in operation as a family farm over a long period of time and have played a significant role in Alabama history.

"It is our pleasure to administer this program that gives recognition to those family farms that have stood the test of time. These farms demonstrate a durability and love of the land that are truly the heritage of this great state," said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan.

A Century Farm is one that has been in the same family continuously for at least 100 years and currently has some agricultural activities on the farm. The farm must include at least forty acres of land and be owned by the applicant or nominee.

A Heritage Farm is one that has been operated continuously as a family farm for at least 100 years. The farm must possess interesting and important historical and agricultural aspects, including one or more structures at least forty years old. The farm must be at least forty acres of land owned and operated by the applicant, who must reside in Alabama.

This program began in 1976 when the director of the Alabama Historical Commission and a representative from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries met to discuss some way to recognize small family farms that had been in operation over a long period of time.  Out of this original meeting the idea for the Century and Heritage Farm program was born. They decided recognition should be given to these farms because they had played such a significant role in Alabama's history.

The population in rural Alabama at that time was rapidly changing as people moved to urban areas. The number of family farms was diminishing rapidly at the time as it still is today. It was decided that farms with over one hundred years of ownership should be awarded a certificate to recognize this significant achievement.

It was agreed that the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries would administer this program.  The first certificates of recognition were presented at an Alabama Farm Bureau meeting in Birmingham during the month of December 1977.  To date, over 550 farms have been recognized from all across the state.   

All applicants must complete an Ownership Registration Form supplied by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. If you feel your farm meets the above qualifications and you are interested in applying for the 2013 program, please contact Amy Belcher at 334/240-7126 or by e-mail amy.belcher@agi.alabama.gov. The application deadline for the 2013 Century and Heritage Farm program is August 30th.  

Information Source: Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries

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