The Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) is now accepting applications for the 2009 Century and Heritage Farm program. All applicants must complete an Ownership Registration Form supplied by the department. 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’s history.
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 40 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 40 years old. The farm must be at least 40 acres of land owned and operated by the applicant, who must reside in Alabama.
This program got its start in 1976 when the director of the Alabama Historical Commission and a representative from the ADAI 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 were moving to urban areas. The number of family farms was diminishing rapidly at the time, as it still is today. It was decided farms with over 100 years of ownership should be awarded a certificate to recognize this significant achievement.
It was agreed the ADAI 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, more than 450 farms have been recognized from all across the state.