Virginia Century Farm Program marks two decades

Virginia Century Farm Program marks two decades
RICHMOND—The Virginia Century Farm Program, which recognizes families who have owned and operated farms for more than 100 years, turns 20 this year.

Nearly 1,400 Virginia farms have been designated Century Farms since the program was established in 1997.

“For many families, farming is both a tradition and a business that has been passed down from one generation to the next,” said Sandy Adams, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “Agriculture remains Virginia’s largest private industry, contributing $52 billion annually to the commonwealth. It speaks volumes about our state’s long commitment to agriculture when there are nearly 1,400 farms designated to have been in operation for more than a century.”

Ninety-two of the state’s 95 counties and six cities have designated Century Farms.

Kenneth Copp owns and operates a 90-acre Century Farm in Shenandoah County where his family has been farming for nearly 170 years.

“I was introduced to farming by my father. I like farming, so he left most of the property to me. Fortunately, my daughter wants to keep the farm in the family too,” Copp remarked.

He still lives in the 18th-century log house where he grew up. He has made improvements to the farm and recently refurbished the barn.

“The Century Farm program celebrates that some people really care about their farms and want to keep farming,” Copp added.

Hoen McGuire Edwards is a fifth-generation farmer in Southampton County, which boasts the highest number of Century Farms in the state. Edwards raises corn, peanuts, soybeans and wheat at Broadview Farm, one of the county’s 90 Century Farms. 

“It seems like everyone is selling farmland for development. It’s important to keep farms in production. Houses sure don’t grow crops; farms do,” Edwards observed.

The Century Farm program is administered by VDACS. To be eligible, a farm must have been owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years, be lived on or farmed by a descendant of the original owner and gross over $2,500 annually from the sale of farm products.

Designated Century Farms are listed by locality on VDACS’ website at vdacs.virginia.gov/conservation-and-environmental-virginia-century-farms.shtml.

For more information about the Century Farm Program, contact Andy Sorrell at andrew.sorrell@vdacs.virginia.gov.

Media: Contact Copp at 540-325-5920 or Edwards at 757-562-6998. 


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