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Posted: February 22, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Families encouraged to apply for farm awards

Even though most Georgians are several generations removed from their family farm, many can trace their family history back to a farm and even still have relatives farming the family home place.

The Newton County Farm Bureau encourages owners of farms continuously operating for 100 years or more to apply to be recognized by the Georgia Centennial Farm Program.

This program recognizes centennial farm owners through one of three distinguished awards. The Centennial Heritage Farm Award honors farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that are also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Centennial Family Farm Award recognizes farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that are not listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Centennial Farm Award does not require continual family ownership, but farms must be at least 100 years old and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

"Farms play an important role in the heritage of Georgia as they formed the economic, family and cultural foundation for many Georgia communities," said Keith Mitcham, Newton County Farm Bureau president.

"Since farmers make up only about 1 percent of our country’s population, a farm that has been in operation for at least 100 years deserves the recognition the Georgia Centennial Farm Program offers. Honoring the family farming tradition is important, and I encourage anyone whose farm meets the criteria for one of the three awards to apply."

Applications for the 2014 awards must be postmarked by May 1.

If you are interested in nominating a farm for recognition in 2014, visit http://www.georgiacentennialfarms.org to download an application, or contact Charlie Miller, Centennial Farm Awards Committee chairman at 404-651-5287 or by email at Charlie.miller@dnr.state.ga.us.

The Georgia Centennial Farm Program has recognized 451 farms across Georgia since being established in 1993.

The program is administered by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Forestry Commission, and the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter with support from Georgia EMC.

Each year, qualifying farms are recognized on the opening day of the Georgia National Fair held in early October in Perry, Ga.

Farm owners receive a Georgia Centennial Farm certificate.

Georgia Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization.

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