OREGON COUNTY -- The search is on again for Missouri farms that have been in the same family 100 years or more.
The farms will be recognized in the Missouri Century Farm program, first launched in the bicentennial year of 1976 as the Missouri Centennial Farm program at the University of Missouri at Columbia. In the 1976 program, 2,850 Missouri farm owners were recognized as owning a centennial farm.
Since 1987, there have been an additional 2,409 farms recognized. Last year, 159 family farms joined this program.
To qualify as a Missouri Century Farm, it must meet these guidelines: The farm must have been owned by the same family for 100 years or more as of Dec. 31, 2003. The family shall consist of direct descendants only (spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, nephew or niece). If the farm is a family corporation or partnership, one of the principal stockholders must be a direct descendant. The present farm shall consist of no less than 40 acres of the original land and must make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.
A Web site -- http://outreach.missouri.edu/centuryfarm -- includes the history of the program, guidelines, application form, and highlights several farms from the program.
The Missouri Century Farm program is jointly administered by the UM College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and MU Extension.
Application forms and information are available through Extension Publications, 2800 Maguire Blvd., Columbia, MO 65211 or through University Extension Center in the basement of the courthouse in Alton.
A $25 fee covers the cost of certificates and farm signs for approved applicants. Checks should be made out to Missouri Century Farms and should accompany a completed application. If more than one sign is requested, add $11 for each additional sign. Applications must be returned by June 15.
Applicants certified as owners of 2004 Missouri Century Farms will be recognized by the local University Outreach and Extension office in the county where the farm is located.