Mon April 8, 2013

The Search Begins For Century-Old Colorado Farms

The state's historical society has recognized more than 400 farms and ranches in Colorado that have been owned by the same family for a century or longer.
Credit Sara Brooks / Greeley History

History Colorado, the state’s historical society, is on the hunt for farms that have been around for one hundred years or more. 

They’re now accepting applications to be declared a ‘Centennial Farm.’

The award recognizes family farms that have persevered through some of the the toughest times in Colorado history.

Think back on the last century in Colorado. There were plenty of times when being a farmer here wasn’t easy, like the epic drought in the 1950s and the Dust Bowl twenty years before. History Colorado's Shannon Haltiwanger says that's why the award is so important:

“The Colorado landscape has given us a lot of challenges over the years, and even today with the continuing drought conditions and to know that these farmers have made it is truly an impressive feat."

The state created the Centennial Farms program in the mid-80s to give thanks to farmers who continued farming and ranching despite adverse economic and environmental conditions. The Colorado Centennial Farms program has designated over 400 farms and ranches since then. Weld County has the highest number of Centennial Farms, boasting more than 47 farms older than one hundred years

Established in 1851, the Ortega Farm in San Luis is Colorado’s oldest Centennial Farm.

Most farms that were started more than a hundred years ago are eligible for the award, they just need to be owned by the same family the whole time, and still be in operation. The deadline is April 30.

You can apply here.