The Arkansas Agriculture Department is accepting applications for the Arkansas Century Farm program, which recognizes Arkansas' rich agricultural heritage and honors families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years.

The Arkansas Agriculture Department is accepting applications for the Arkansas Century Farm program, which recognizes Arkansas’ rich agricultural heritage and honors families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years.

The program is voluntary and places no restrictions on the land.

To qualify, farms must meet the following criteria:

• The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years by Dec. 31, 2012. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings and nephews or nieces, including through marriage and adoption.

• The farm must be at least 10 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.

Gov. Mike Beebe said, “The Arkansas Century Farm Program is designed to acknowledge the families who have contributed to our state’s traditions, but also to remind all of us that work is needed to ensure that those traditions continue for future generations.”

Nationally, more than 96 percent of all agricultural operations are family farms. Arkansas currently has more than 49,000 farms on 13.5 million acres with the average farm size of 280 acres.

“It’s a privilege to recognize the generations of Arkansas farmers and ranchers who have persevered for a century or more to provide food, fiber and energy” said Richard Bell, Arkansas secretary of agriculture.

Qualified applicants will be presented with a personalized metal sign and a certificate. Only the legal owners of the land may apply.

There is no cost to apply for the Arkansas Century Farm program. Applications can be obtained from the Arkansas Agriculture Department by calling (501) 225-1598 or from the department’s website at: www.aad.arkansas.gov/Pages/programs.aspx

Applications must be postmarked by Aug. 1, 2012 to be eligible for designation in 2012.