Written by: Caroline Hargraves, UDAF Communication Specialist
Utah Century Farms and Ranches dot the landscape of the state, from urban pockets that not long ago were agricultural land to rural stretches that are as remote as they come. Throughout the state’s 29 counties, over 600 farms and ranches have been honored with Century Farm and Ranch designation. From Southern Utah’s red dirt rangelands bespeckled with broad-shouldered Angus cows, to Northern Utah’s vegetable farms and dairies, to the nearly countless alfalfa fields, orchards, and specialty crop farms lining the Wasatch Front, agricultural operations in Utah are as diverse as the landscapes they occupy.
The Utah Century Farm and Ranch designation was created in 1995 by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, the Utah Farm Bureau, the Utah State University Extension Service, the Utah State Fair Board and Brigham Young University and denotes farms and ranches which have remained in the hands of the same family and in continuous operation for at least 100 years. According to the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, “The Utah Century Farm & Ranch Designation honors the commitment of Utah farmand ranch families to the state’s agricultural industry, the bold determination farmers and ranchers have exhibited throughout the development of our state’s customs and culture, and their affirmation of the vision of the pioneers in assisting the desert to ‘blossom as a rose.‘”
Kenny McFarland of McFarland Family Farms, a Century Farm located just outside of Ogden in beautiful West Weber, Utah shared with us his thoughts on being a seventh generation farmer and what being a Century Farm operator means to him. “Being on a Century Farm has given me a lot of pride. I feel a sense of connection with my ancestors as I work the same ground and walk the same ditches and do the same things that they did. At the same time, I feel like every person on earth at some point has an ancestor who has also been a farmer. I think we all have that special connection with our food if we really stop and care about it and think about it; that’s a pretty valuable thing.”
Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Commissioner Craig Buttars, who hails from a long line of Cache County dairymen remarks, “Growing up on our family’s own Century Farm – a dairy farm in Lewiston just near the Idaho border, you learn a great deal about the meaningful role of agriculture. Production agriculture is not easy. On cold winter mornings or hot summer days hauling hay, remembering that your work is providing food for people’s tables and helping them feed their families makes it all worthwhile. We hope at the department that all Utahns can understand the importance of agriculture and can be grateful for the food they have and the farmers who brought it to them. The Century Farm and Ranch designation is a powerful reminder of the resources and open spaces provided by Utah agriculture.”
To learn more about Utah Century Farms and Ranches or apply for this designation, visit the Utah Farm Bureau Federation’s application page https://www.utahfarmbureau.org/Article/Utah-Century-Farm-Ranch-Designation.
> Return to the March 2021 Cultivating Connections newsletter here.
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