Gallipolis Ferry, W.Va. - To honor those families who have continuously farmed the same tracts of land for at least 100 years, the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts (WVACD) has started the West Virginia Century Farm Program. To qualify as a Century Farm the following qualifications must be met:

1 - The same family must have maintained ownership (title of the land) for a minimum of 100 consecutive years.

2 - The farm must consist of at least ten acres of the original land holdings.

3 - The farm must gross at least $1,000 annually from farm products, (4) A family member must live on the farm or be an integral part of the day-to-day operation of the farm enterprise.

Those agricultural operations selected as Century Farms will receive an outdoor sign for display. Those individuals selected as Century Farm families will receive their awards during their local Conservation District's annual meeting, at which time pictures and a bit of the farm's history will be showcased.

West Virginia will forever be indebted to those pioneer families who sacrificed to create farms from the daunting wilderness, producing the products so essential to the existence of the state's residents. Today, descendants of many of these first families continue to produce food on the same land as their forefathers, contributing significantly to the state's economy. A major portion of our current culture, traditions and values stems from this rich agricultural heritage.

"Not many people realize that the two figures on the State Seal are a miner and a farmer," said Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass. "Farming - and the sense of self-reliance that goes along with it - has been part of West Virginia's heritage since the beginning. We'd like to illustrate that by showing the public some of the great, older farms in the state that are the epitome of sustainability, and a tribute to farm families."

If you or someone you know would like to apply for the Century Farm Program application forms are available at your local conservation district office. To find your local Conservation District office please visit   www.wvca.us

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