By DOUG GRAVES
GREENFIELD, Ohio — Ohio’s Century Farm program, started in 1993 by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), was formed to honor those who have maintained their farming operations in the same family for at least 100 years.
Just last month, supporters of agriculture, along with state and local officials, gathered at the farm of Dave Daniels, ODA director, in Highland County to celebrate as Ohio now has at least one Century Farm in all 88 counties. There are 930 Century Farms in the state.
“This is a testament to the work the program has been doing and, once again, it’s just a reminder that as people drive up and down the road and see those Century Farm signs, just what is meant to that family and to that community,” said Daniels, whose historic farm resides in Greenfield.
While he is grateful for having a Century Farm in the family, he said learning more about family history during the application process was just as rewarding.
“That can be personally fulfilling,” said Daniels, whose 469-acre farm was established in 1842. “To know a little bit more about your ancestors, to know a little bit more about what their life was and how we ultimately got to where we are today … It’s important as a reminder that we are one of many who have made a living with agriculture and made a living off the land.
“If my ancestors saw agriculture today, it would be quite a different story. This program is all about families across the state that have made an impact on our $105 billion industry.”
In a few cases across the state, there are two Century Farms from the same family. Rob Bouic of Plain City, in Union County, has a Century Farm that was established in 1906. Rob’s cousin, Daniel Bouic, has a farm in the same county that was established in 1835.
“My farm began with my great-great-grandfather, who purchased the farm in 1906,” Rob Bouic said. “In 1940 he turned it over to my grandfather, Art Loschky, and eventually it was gifted to me in 1989. We’re now living in the original house and my kids are the fifth generation to live in the house.”
His grandfather takes pride in knowing his grandson is taking the reins of the farm operation. Much has changed since Loschky controlled operations. Today, a milking parlor uses computer integration to keep tabs on milking operations and a GPS system is used to help with chemical applications and harvesting.
“When I started farming, I used two horses pulling a two-row planter – but nowadays they have 16-row planters. My, how things have changed,” Loschky said.
Today the family tends to 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans, with 60 acres of hay for the 110 milking cows.
“Each generation received support from the previous generation, but then each has had to make it on their own, too,” Bouic said. “You just can’t do the same things that your father or grandfather did, or you’ll be sliding backwards.
“By passing the farms down from generation to generation, it shows we do care about the land and we do care about the livestock. These Century Farms wouldn’t survive by allowing the soil to erode or allowing our livestock to live in a diseased environment.”
For more information about the Century Farm program, go to www.agri.ohio.gov