The number of Virginia Century Farms has passed the 1,000 mark. As of March 31, 2008, the program had recognized a total of 1,009 farms since the Virginia General Assembly established it in 1997.

The Century Farm program honors the commitment and contributions of farm families who have owned and worked their farms for 100 years or more. It is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

“This milestone in the Virginia Century Farm program is well worth celebrating,” said VDACS Commissioner Todd P. Haymore. “Through this program, Virginia recognizes and pays tribute to those whose continuing efforts have formed the backbone of the Commonwealth for more than 400 years. Today, thanks to these dedicated individuals and so many who followed their lead, agriculture is the state’s largest industry.”
 


Century Farms are located across the state in 89 counties plus the cities of Chesapeake, Petersburg, Poquoson, Suffolk and Virginia Beach. Southampton County tops the list with 68 designated farms, followed by Rockingham County with 46. Augusta and Franklin Counties tie for the third highest total with 30 Century Farms each, followed by Halifax with 27, Mecklenburg and Shenandoah with 26 each and Russell County with 25.

To qualify as a Virginia Century Farm, applicants must meet these criteria: The farm must have been owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years; the farm must be lived on, or actually farmed by, a descendant of the original owner; and the farm must gross more than $2,500 annually from the sale of agricultural products.

At the discretion of the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, tree farms may also qualify as Virginia Century Farms even if they do not gross the stipulated amount in the sale of farm products.

Century Farm families receive a certificate of recognition and an 11x17-inch aluminum sign for exterior display. Application forms are available from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by calling (804) 786-2373; by mailing a request to Century Farm, VDACS, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, Va. 23218; or e-mailing marion.horsley@vdacs.virginia.gov.

There is no fee to apply.