Arkansas Agriculture Department announces Century Farm Program
The Arkansas Agriculture Department is accepting applications for the Arkansas Century Farm program, a new program recognizing Arkansas' rich agricultural heritage and honoring families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. The program is voluntary and places no restrictions on the land.
To qualify, farms must meet the following criteria:
--The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years by Dec. 31. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews or nieces, including through marriage and adoption.
--The farm must be at least 10 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said, "The Arkansas Century Farm Program is designed to acknowledge the families who have contributed to our state's traditions, but also to remind all of us that work is needed to ensure that those traditions continue for future generations."
Nationally, over 96 percent of all agricultural operations are family farms. Arkansas currently has over 49,000 farms on 13.5 million acres with the average farm size of 280 acres.
"It's a privilege to recognize the generations of Arkansas farmers and ranchers who have persevered for a century or more to provide food, fiber, and energy" said Richard Bell, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture.
Qualified applicants will be presented with a personalized metal sign and a certificate. Only the legal owners of the land may apply.
There is no cost to apply for the Arkansas Century Farm program. Applications can be obtained from the Arkansas Agriculture Department by calling 501-225-1598 or from the department's website at www.aad.arkansas.gov/Pages/programs.aspx.
Applications must be postmarked by Aug. 1 to be eligible for designation in 2012.