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Sustaining a Heritage and Way of Life
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Those of us at a certain age remember a segment Willard Scott had on the Today Show that started in the 1970s. During his weather segment he would show a person, mention their name, and that they had reached their 100th birthday. Back then the mentions were few and not every day but as time went on the mentions became more numerous. Reaching your centennial birthday became relatively more common. But even today a centennial anniversary is a big deal. You are probably asking what that has to do with agriculture. Here in Kansas the Farm Bureau recognizes the significance of “Century Farms” and what they mean to Kansas.
Tradition and heritage are words often associated with sports programs and the military. However, those words are equally important in farming and ranching. For the production of food, fiber, and fuel, tradition and heritage don’t mean being stuck in the past or resistance to change. These words convey a sense of community, continuity, adaption, and progress allowing for rural Kansas to survive and succeed in a modern, rapidly changing world. While farming and ranching are businesses, they are more. Truly successful agricultural enterprises are connected to the land and community by more than just money. It’s where the people involved live, raise families, and feel a spiritual connection to the land, what they do, and its value to society. This connection is enhanced as the same family is tied to the same land for generations deepening the connection to place. And contrary to perception, the vast majority of faming enterprises in the United States are family farms.
Kansas Farm Bureau, in order to recognize and honor this connection and dedication, established the “Century Farm” program. Over the first fourteen years of the program, over 2,200 family farms qualified for this designation. And they are looking for more “Century Farms.” Their goal in the fifteenth years is to identify even more of these farms. To qualify the family farm owner/operator must be related to the owner operator of the farm in 1914 or earlier. Qualifying farmers receive a “Century Farm” sign and recognition by the Kansas Farm Bureau.  
To be considered for this designation, an application must be submitted by May 15, 2014. Application may be obtained at the local Farm Bureau office or by going online at http://www.kfb.org/getinvolved/centuryfarms/. So if you or someone you know would qualify, please take the time and fill out an application. It not only honors the current owner/operator but also those who came before.