Louisiana is starting a program to honor farms, ranches and tree farms that have been in the same family for at least 100 years.
Each recognized farm will get a certificate and a metal sign from the Louisiana Century Farm Program, Department of Agriculture and Forestry spokeswoman Veronica Mosgrove said. Farmers have until Dec. 31 to apply.
At least 34 other states have similar programs, according to the American Farm Bureau's Foundation for Agriculture. Its website shows that as of last March, the number of farms honored by those programs ranged from 20 in Montana to 15,000 in Iowa. Mississippi had 248 and Texas 4,300.
To be eligible for Louisiana's program, at least one owner must live in the state, the family must still own at least 10 acres of the original founder's land, and the farm must produce at least $1,000 a year in farming income. Tree farms must work under a forest management plan written by a professional forester, have at least 10 acres of forest land, and have a schedule for harvesting forest products.
Farmers also are asked to attach a description of special events held on the farm, buildings on the National Historic Registry, unusual happenings, significant improvements, identifying landmarks, farm usage over the years, interesting information regarding the founder and any subsequent owners, and scanned copies of pictures of special interest with brief descriptions.
The program is sponsored by the AgCenter, the Agriculture Department, Louisiana Farm Bureau and Louisiana Land Bank.