By DOUG GRAVES
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Beginning this summer, Ohio’s Century Farm Program will stretch to include Bicentennial Farms, too. “What we’re doing is actually expanding, or enhancing, the Century Farm Program,” said Cindy Shy, Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) program administrator and Century Farm Program manager.
Ohio’s Century Farm program was started in 1993 to honor those who have maintained their farming operations in the same family for at least 100 years. In 2012 there were 78 farms added to this growing list. To date there are 930 Century Farms registered. “Right now there are about 66 farms in 32 counties that qualify for the Bicentennial Farm designation,” Shy said.
The Century Farm program started as a competition among farmers to become named as an Outstanding Farm. For the first few years there were eight winners each year. “Over time, we looked at the registrations that came in and it was determined that every application that came in was deserving of recognition and each application has some great, unique things about that particular farm,” Shy said. “It became a recognition program rather than a competition program, and that started in 2002.”
Shy says there are more century farms in Ohio that have not yet been recognized. “We keep trying to build on those numbers,” she explained. “We continue to do outreach and continue to educate and inform people about this program so they can get the recognition that they deserve.”
Anyone believing they have a Century Farm can register online or contact Shy for proper applications. Once registration and copies of deeds showing transfers from generations of families are received at ODA, they are reviewed.
If approved and there are no gaps of ownership in the deeds, ODA develops a special certificate that is signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and ODA Director Dave Daniels.
“It’s an exciting addition to the Century Farm program,” Shy said. “People can continue to register as a Century Farm, but they’ll receive the Bicentennial Farm designation when they reach their 200th year of farm ownership.”
Shy says families with Century Farms will be honored at their county fairs in the summer and fall. Plans are in the works to celebrate Bicentennial Farms this summer. “If people are already registered as a Century Farm we will continue to watch for their anniversary from our office and celebrate with them when it is time,” she added.
Anyone wanting information on Century Farms should visit www.agri. ohio.gov or call Shy at 614-752-9817.