RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Century Farm Program is looking for farms that have been in continuous family ownership for 100 years or more to join the nearly 2,000 farms in the program. The program exists to honor farms for their longstanding contributions to North Carolina’s rich agricultural heritage.
Every four years, the N.C. State Fair hosts a reunion to recognize Century Farm families. Because the State Fair was canceled in 2020, the reunion has been moved to this year and will be held Oct. 18, said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Century Farm Program.
“Being part of our Century Farm program is something to be very proud of, as it speaks to the hard work and dedication families invest in keeping their farmland,” Troxler said. “I encourage anyone who is eligible to apply to this program, and I encourage all members to plan to attend this year’s reunion. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Century Farm program and we were looking forward to that reunion. COVID only postponed the celebration, it didn’t cancel it. We will still celebrate 50 years, plus one, of this special program.”
There are 1,950 member farms in the program, with 97 of the state’s 100 counties represented. “We’d love to have Century Farms in all 100 counties, so if you have a qualifying farm in your family or know of one in Dare, Graham, and Swain counties, please fill out an application,” Troxler said.
Century Farms represent a small fraction of the total 52,000 farms in North Carolina. The Brown Family from Yadkin County is one of the most recent additions to the program. The farm, which has added a wedding venue called The Barn at Cranberry Creek, is owned by Darin Brown, Dwayne and Dana Brown, and Neil and Christy Brown. The property has been in their family for five generations, dating back to 1898.
Caring for that land has always been “a way of life” for their family, said Dwayne Brown. They are just one of the many families who are proud to be a part of this program and carry on their family’s farming legacy.
To be eligible for the program, the farm must be in continuous ownership by your family for 100 years or more. This can be determined from an abstract of title or original records such as original deed or land patents. Other authentic land records may be acceptable in certain cases. Title to the property today must reside with a blood relative of the original owner, or a legally adopted child of the descendant. Continuous residence in the state or on the property is not required.
Applications can be found at www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/