OREGON COUNTY -- Oregon County is rich in agricultural history. Many farms in the area have been in one family for many years.
That is one of the reasons University of Extension is again on a search for Century Farms.
According to officials with the local Extension office at Alton, these are farms that have been in a family for 100 years or more. These farms will be recognized in the Missouri Century Farm program.
"This program was first launched in 1976 and 2,850 Century Farms were recognized. In Oregon County our first Century Farm came in 1986 and the family farm belonged to Herbert and Meda Dethrow from the Myrtle area," said Kathy Loth from the Oregon County Extension office.
In 1986, the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and University Extension planned a Century Farm program in which 1,080 more farms were recognized. Due to continued interest in the program, annual updates are now given each year. Since 1987, an additional 2,911 farms have been recognized.
Last year, 186 family farms joined the program including two from Oregon County. Those two Century Farms are the James Wiggs farm at Koshkonong and the Velma Parott farm at Alton.
Loth said to qualify as a Missouri Century Farm, farms must meet the following guidelines.
* The same family must have owned the farm for 100 consecutive years or more as of Dec. 31, 2008.
* The line of ownership from the original owner or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nieces, including through marriage or adoption.
* The farm must be at least 40 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the over-all farm income.
Applicants certified as owners of a 2008 Missouri Century Farm will be recognized by their local Extension office in the county where the farm is located.
Loth said applications can be picked up at the Extension office located in the basement of the Oregon County Courthouse at Alton. Applications must be postmarked no later than May 15.
There are currently 19 Century Farms in Oregon County, they are: Frank and Bonnie Gilmore, Lewis Simpson, Malcolm German, David and Geneva Sorrell, Bill and Barbara Cotton, Calvin and Susan Sheets, Jerri Thompson, Don and Linda/Barb Williams, Don and Nancy Alford, Harold Crass, Floyd and Katherine Wickins, Dave and Patsy Norman, Carl and Shirley Burkhead, James Grooms, Robert and Sarah Crowder, August Dorothy Herbold and the three farms already mentioned.