April 30 deadline for Colorado Centennial Farm nominations

Apr 10, 2009
by WLJ
April 30 deadline for Colorado Centennial Farm nominations

—Annual awards ceremony held at Colorado State Fair recognizes farms and ranches owned by the same family for 100 years.

The Colorado Centennial Farm Program is seeking applications from families who have owned and operated their farm or ranch for 100 years or more. Farmers and ranchers nominating their property for this award must submit an application providing information about the history of their farm and its buildings by Thursday, April 30, 2009. Qualified applicants will be honored this summer during the program’s 23rd annual awards ceremony held at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.

Nominees must meet the following requirements to become designated as a Colorado Centennial Farm: Farming or ranching properties must have remained in the same family continuously for at least 100 years; Each property must still be a working farm or ranch; Farms or ranches must have a minimum of 160 acres; However, properties with fewer than 160 acres can qualify if they gross at least $1,000 in annual sales.

The Colorado Historical Society and the Colorado Department of Agriculture created the Colorado Centennial Farm Program in 1986 to recognize the important role that agriculture has played in our state’s history and economic development.

According to Steve Turner, deputy state historic preservation officer, the awards are intended to honor families who have maintained the integrity of their historic properties for over a century despite the economic challenges of modern farming.

“Historic agricultural sites around the nation are disappearing at an alarming rate,” said Turner, who also directs the State Historical Fund, the historic preservation grants program of the Colorado Historical Society. “But these families have withstood the pressures of growth, changes in farming methods, drought and economic conditions to keep their way of life. These historic farms contribute immeasurably to the sense of place and pride that all Coloradoans feel about their state.”

The 2009 Colorado Centennial Farms awards will be presented at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo in August. At the ceremony, award recipients will receive a certificate signed by the governor and a metal sign to display on their property. In addition, the National Trust for Historic Preservation will recognize families who have maintained the historic buildings on their property that are 50 years old or older.

To date, more than 350 farms and ranches representing 61 counties across the state have received Colorado Centennial Farm awards. The majority of these farms were established between 1880 and 1895. Following are a few Colorado Centennial Farm facts: The Colorado Centennial Farms program has designated 354 farms and ranches; Colorado Centennial Farms have been designated in 61 of our state’s 64 counties; Weld County has 45 designated Centennial Farms— the most in Colorado Established in 1851, the Ortega Farm in San Luis is Colorado’s oldest Centennial Farm; Gallegos Ranch in Costilla County holds the state’s oldest water rights, with decrees dated 1855 and 1856. In addition to administering the Colorado Centennial Farm Program, the State Historical Fund (SHF)—a program of the Colorado Historical Society—awards grants to public and nonprofit organizations for the purpose of preserving and interpreting Colorado’s historic architectural and archaeological resources. To date, SHF has awarded more than $211 million in public funds to more than 3,300 projects in each of Colorado’s 64 counties. Among the projects are historic commercial properties and education about the places where Colorado’s rich economic past was developed. Since the 19th century, agriculture has been one of the main industries that helped shape Colorado and its economy. SHF has helped fund the stabilization, restoration and preservation of many landmark farm and ranching sites throughout Colorado.

To receive a Colorado Centennial Farm application, visit the Web site at www. coloradohistory-oahp.org/ programareas/centfarm/cen tfarm.htm, or call Lyle Miller, 303/866-2779. —WLJ