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Program seeks applicants for historic farm status

With the continued celebration of Alabama’s bicentennial – which has fallen in conjunction with Franklin County’s bicentennial last year and Russellville’s bicentennial this year – has come the increased focus on sharing and commemorating the state’s vast and varied history.

A significant piece of that history, most anyone would agree, is Alabama’s foundations in agriculture. The state is rich with farmland and growers, from small-time farmers market sellers to big-time cattle operations. Some of those farms have been family endeavors for years – and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries wants to know all about them.

The ADAI is accepting applications for the annual Century and Heritage Farm and Bicentennial Farm programs – the purpose of both being to recognize family farms that have played a significant role in Alabama’s history.

What do each of these designations mean?

  •  A Century Farm, as its name implies, is one that has been in the same family continuously for at least 100 years and currently has some active agricultural activities. According to the ADAI guidelines, the farm must include at least 40 acres of land and be owned by the applicant or nominee.
  •  A Heritage Farm is one that has been “operated continuously as a family farm for at least 100 years. The farm must possess interesting and important historical and agricultural aspects, including one or more structures at least 40 years old,” according to the ADAI application requirements. Like the Century Farm, a Heritage Farm must also include at least 40 acres of land owned and operated by the applicant, who must reside in Alabama.
  • To date, more than 650 farms across the state have been recognized by the C&H Farm program.

Special to this year, the ADAI is also accepting applications for the Bicentennial Farm program.

Dec. 14, 2019, is the date the state will officially observe its 200th birthday. The Bicentennial Farm program honors family farms that have remained in the same family for 200 years. According to the ADAI, to date, only eight farms in the state have been recognized by this program.

  •  A Bicentennial Farm must have some active agricultural activities, be at least 40 acres in size and be owned by an Alabama resident. Applicants for the program are required to complete a registration form that traces the family lineage of property ownership and a description of agricultural activities that took place. The application also requests photos of any structures on the property that are 40 years old or older – even though structures are not required to qualify for the program.

“I think it’s a good way for Franklin County farmers, if they fall in that category, to showcase their farms,” said Katernia Cole-Coffey, director of the Franklin County Cooperative Extension. “We have such a rich agricultural history, and this would just enhance it even more.”

Anyone whose farm meets the qualifications for the 2019 C&H Farm program or the 2019 Bicentennial Farm program can contact Amy Belcher at 334-240-7126 or by email at amy.belcher@agi.alabama.gov to receive an application. Applications are also available at www.agi.alabama.gov under the Forms tab and by selecting “Bicentennial Farm” or “Century & Heritage Farm.” 

Deadline to apply is Aug. 30.


These farms have already been recognized for their longevity and historical status in Franklin County:

  • Ramsey Place
  • Old Bolding Place
  • Thorn Place
  • Ernest Thorn Farms
  • Sam McKinney Place
  • The Clarence Malone Place
  • The Web Parrish Place
  • Flunoy Ezzell Place
  • Garrison Ezzell Farm
  • Richardson Farm
  • Murray Farm
  • Davis/Hutcheson Family Farm
  • Bragwell Farm
  • Golden Farm
  • Swinney Farm