‘Nothing Compares’ to annual Century, Heritage Farm awards

Special section salutes 2017 Century and Heritage Farm honorees

In groups large and small, and ages young and old, Iowa farmers made their way to the Iowa State Fair to be honored in a special way and on a special day.

From Avoca, to Diagonal to Clinton they came on Aug. 17 for the 11th Annual Century and Heritage Farm Awards held at the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion.

The Century Farm program honors families who have consecutive ownership within the same family for 100 years or more of at least 40 acres of the original holding of farm land. The present owner must be related to a person who owned the property 100 years ago.

More than 19,350 Century awards have been presented since 1976, the inaugural year.

In 2007, officials added Heritage awards.

That program honors those who have continuously owned farm land 150 years or more, holding at least 40 acres of the original farm and present owner must be related to a person who owned the property 150 years ago.

The 11-hour ceremony was co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and Prairie Meadows.

And for the eighth consecutive year, the Times-Republican covered the event (see today’s special section).

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill, and vice-president Joe Heinrich presented certificates, metal farm markers, and posed for pictures with all recipients.

They were assisted by Future Farmers of America.

Northey takes the ceremony seriously — he personally greeted and shook hands with each of the hundreds of recipients and posed for all photos.

“I started farming with my grandfather, Sid Northey, so I know the fulfillment found in working the same ground for multiple generations,” he said. “You have learned the lessons of land stewardship, hard work, patience, dedication, the importance of family and community, and many other life lessons from the generations before you and helped to pass them on to today’s youth. For that, and for all you do, I want to thank you.”

Farm families from the Times-Republican readership area of Grundy, Hardin, Marshall, Tama were in force to receive awards, with 24 of 26 awardees present (For the second consecutive year, no Century or Heritage awards were made to Story County. And for the first time since the T-R began covering the event, no Century awards were made in Marshall County).

Earning distinction this year statewide as the oldest Iowa Heritage farm — originating in 1837 — is owned by John and Arla Lubben of Baldwin in Jackson County.

The farm also earned the oldest Century Farm.

In the T-R readership area, the oldest Heritage qualifier was the farm owned by Joel and Connie Jones of Gilman in Marshall County.

It was established in 1856.

The oldest Century qualifier is the farm owned by Mary Ann Lawler of Union in Hardin County.

That farm dates to 1877.

For more information, or to apply for Century or Heritage Farm awards, contact IDALS at 515-281-5321 or IowaAgriculture.gov.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com