Program seeks to recognize 100-year-old and older farms

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Century Farm Program is looking for farms that have been in continuous family ownership for 100 years or more to join the more than 2,000 farms in the program.

The program exists to honor farms for their longstanding contributions to North Carolina’s rich agricultural heritage.

Every four years, the N.C. State Fair hosts a reunion to recognize Century Farm families. This year’s reunion will be held on Oct. 21.

“The Century Farm program was first held at the 1970 N.C. State Fair as part of the fair’s Salute to Agriculture theme,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Our longtime farm families have been the backbone of North Carolina’s No. 1 industry and I am looking forward to celebrating them this year.

“Being part of our Century Farm program is something to be very proud of, as it speaks to the hard work and dedication families invest in keeping their farmland,” Troxler said. “I encourage anyone who is eligible to apply to this program, and I encourage all members to plan to attend this year’s reunion.”

There are 2,006 member farms in the program, with 97 of the state’s 100 counties represented.

“We’d love to have Century Farms in all 100 counties, so if you have a qualifying farm in your family or know of one in Dare, Graham and Swain counties, please fill out an application,” Troxler said.

Johnston County has the most Century Farm members at 84, Sampson County comes in second at 73 farms, and Robeson County rounds out the top three at 70 farms in the program.

Century Farms represent a small fraction of the total 42,817 farms in North Carolina. The Buie Family is one of the most recent additions to the program. The farm is owned by 16 grandkids and great-grandkids of the late Sampson Buie of Robeson County, who purchased the land on the eve of the Great Depression in 1923.

“My grandfather took pride in ownership of the land,” said Debra Buie Decker. “The primary cash crop was tobacco and other crops sold were cotton, peanuts, soybeans, corn, cucumbers and pecans.”

The family still operates a small produce operation on the farm, managed by a great-grandson, Kevin Buie. Kevin is also an ag teacher at Fairmont High School in Robeson County.

“There would be tremendous joy and pride by my grandfather to know that we have maintained the farm he started long enough to be a Century Farm Family,” said Decker. “The sign and certificate we received recognizing this milestone is important to our family and we look forward to our first Century Farm Reunion this fall.”

The Century Farm Program is a free recognition program managed by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. To be eligible for the program, the farm must be in continuous ownership by your family for 100 years or more. Additionally, the Bicentennial Farm recognition program recognizes farms with 200 years or more of continuous family ownership.

Eligibility for both can be determined from an abstract of title or original records such as original deed or land patents. Other authentic land records may be acceptable in certain cases. Title to the property today must reside with a blood relative of the original owner, or a legally adopted child of the descendant. Continuous residence in the state or on the property is not required.

Applications can be found at…and are accepted continuously throughout the year. You can download and print an application to fill out or contact the NCDA&CS Public Affairs office at 919-707-3002 to have an application sent to you. Proof of land ownership must be submitted with the application.

To be eligible to attend this year’s Century Farm Reunion and be included in the Century Farm booklet, applications must be submitted by Monday, Aug. 12.