If a farm has been in the same family for more than a century, it could be eligible for Missouri Century Farm recognition.
Every year, the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and MU Extension add new farms to the list of recognized "century farms" — properties that have been operated by the same family and passed down for 100 or more consecutive years since at least Dec. 31, 1921.
The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews or nieces, including through marriage or adoption.
Farms should include at least 40 acres or the original land acquisition, and these acres should contribution to the overall farm income.
"Family farms have been among our most vital partners since the founding of extension more than 100 years ago," MU Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart said in a news release. "The Century Farm program is one way we express our gratitude to those who have contributed so much to Missouri agriculture."
Dozens of Callaway County farms have been recognized as century farms over the years. Terry Rehma remembers when his farm near Portland achieved the designation 10 years ago.
"This farm was purchased by my relatives in 1909, and in 2009, I filled out the paper work and was accepted," Rehma said.
He submitted a family tree showing how he'd bought his parent's hillside farm in 1994. Before that, the farm had been passed down from the original owners, the Elsenrath family, to whom Rehma is related through his father.
"It's a very neat thing," he said.
Those interested in applying for century farm status this year have until May 1. A $120 fee covers the cost of a certificate, farm sign and booklet for approved applicants.
Applications can be submitted online by visiting extension.missouri.edu/programs/century-farms/cf-apply.
Applicants should submit documents such as deeds, land patents, abstract of title, grants or county land records to show original family ownership. It is optional to include information about any special events, unusual happenings, identifying landmarks, farm usage or other interesting facts about the land or the owners.
"We applaud the hardworking farm families who have kept us fed and clothed for generations," Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins said in a news release. "They represent an important part of our heritage and laid a foundation for the bounty Americans enjoy every day."