Celebrating 100+ Years of Family Farming

By Emily Hanlin

Ag Communications and Administrative Assistant
Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has a long standing program that honors family farms that have been in place for at least one hundred years. The Centennial & Sesquicentennial Farms Program has been in place since 1972 and has recognized over 9,500 family farms all over the state of Illinois as Centennial Farms and over 600 family farms have been recognized as Sesquicentennial Farms.

According to the IL Department of Ag, “Each Centennial Farm designee is a link to America’s heritage and a reminder that the family farm remains a viable entity in today’s agriculture.”

To qualify as a Centennial or Sesquicentennial Farm, an agricultural property must have been owned by a straight or collateral line of descendants of the original owner for at least 100 or 150 years. There is an application process that requests information regarding the present owner and location of the farm, a listing of ancestral owners and a third-party verification of records proving lineal or collateral descent. A recognized title searcher, such as an abstractor, an attorney or a recorder of deeds can verify lineal descent.

Applicants meeting all requirements of the program are notified by mail. The owner receives an official Centennial Farm sign suitable for outdoor display and a certificate bearing signatures of the Governor of Illinoisand the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The application process requires a $50 fee. The Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau sees the vitality of this program and will cover the application feefor this program for members of the Farm Bureau.

In Winnebago County there are 54 farms on record that have been certified as Centennial Farms by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. There is also one Sesquicentennial farm on record from Winnebago County. The Roger Bates’ family farm, in Rockton, IL, was established in 1857.

In Boone County there are 50 Centennial Farms on record that have been recognized by the IL Department of Ag. There are also four Sesquicentennial Farms in Boone County on record. The Demunn Farm in LeRoy, was established in 1852, the Greenlee Farm in Caledonia, was established in 1857, the Nelson Farm in Capron, was established in 1853, and the White Farm in Kingston, was established in 1846.

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