The annual Iowa Century and Heritage Farm celebration will be held Thursday, Aug. 18, at the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair.

The celebration recognizes families who have owned at least 40 acres of their original farm for 100 years or more in the case of Century Farms and 150 years or more for a Heritage Farm.

“The program acknowledges the deep roots of Iowa agriculture and the special bond that exists between Iowa families and the land they farm,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.

Recognizing hard work

Being able to recognize these farm families is one of my favorite days of the year,” Northey said. “This award is a tremendous celebration of the families who have cared for the land and raised the crops and livestock that helped build our state and feed the world. To own a farm for 100 or 150 years is a testament to the values of land stewardship, hard work, patience, dedication and perseverance that are found in Iowa’s farm families.”

Deep roots

The program, sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, began in 1976 as part of the bicentennial celebration, when more than 5,000 certificates and farm markers were distributed across Iowa at local ceremonies. Since then, 18,698 farms from across the state have received the Century Farm recognition.

The Heritage Farm program was started in 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the Century Farm program. Since then 837 farms have been recognized. In 2015, 366 Century Farms and 64 Heritage Farms were recognized. This year, approximately 320 Century Farms and 103 Heritage Farms will be honored.