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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A century of farming

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Joe and Laverne Cockman were presented their Century Farm sign last week. From left are: University Extension County Director Gary Cross, Laverne and Joe Cockman and Edd Hatten from Farm Bureau. Photo by Jan Thompson
OREGON COUNTY -- This month three new farms have been added to the Century Farm program in Oregon County.

They are the Fred and Dionne Komm farm at Thayer, the Joe and Laverne Cockman farm at Alton and the Herb and Curtis Poulette and Kenneth Smith farm at Thayer.

Oregon County is rich in agricultural history. There are many farms in the area that have been in one family for many years.

The Poulette family received their Century Farm sign last week. From left, are: University Extension County Director Gary Cross, Herb Poulette, Curtis Poulette and Edd Hatten from Farm Bureau. Photo by Jan Thompson
That is one of the reasons University of Extension each year searches 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.

The Komm family was presented their Missouri Century Farm sign last week. From left, back row, are: University Extension County Director Gary Cross, Fred, Nick, Dionne and Tammy Komm and Edd Hatten from Farm Bureau; front row: Zack and Colton Komm. Photo by Jan Thompson
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.

The Komm farm is located three miles west of Thayer on Highway 142. It was first bought by Fredrick William Komm, Fred's great-grandfather who came here from Germany in the late 1800s. The farm was autually purchased in 1904. Much of the land has been divided among the family. It consists of 90 acres. A portion of the farm is leased. The Komms have small animals on the farm. Their oldest son Nick will be a fifth generation Komm farm owner.

The Cockman farm is located five miles east of Alton just off CC Highway. It was purchased in 1907 by Joe's grandparents, Green Seeley and Flora Alice Clay. He said they moved west from Tennessee. His parents L.L. and Mary Clay bought the farm in 1928 and Joe and Laverne bought the farm in 1969.

Cockman said his grandfather at one time had a country store with one gas pump on the farm. It was on the old Alton to Doniphan road which is no longer there. The Cockmans still farm. They used to raise feeder pigs, but now they mostly raise cattle and cut hay. They have three children and hope to keep the farm in the family.

The Herbert Poulette farm is located five miles west of Thayer on Highway 142.

A portion of the original 420 acres joins the Arkansas line. Five families currently live on the Poulette farm including the fourth through the sixth generation of the family. The farm consists of beef cattle and fescue. It was originally purchased in 1901.

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 22 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 and Dorothy Herbold, James Wiggs and Velma Parott and the three new farms added Oct. 31.

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