In 1937, New York State Agricultural Society began officially recognizing Century Farms and Ranches, and in 1976, the United States Bicentennial, several states initiated the Century Farm and Ranch program. Today, 43 states participate in recognizing family farms and ranches that have reached this milestone.
“The Idaho Century Farm and Ranch program, a partnership of the Department of Agriculture and the Idaho State Historical Society, was created to recognize the importance and contribution of Idaho’s farming and ranching pioneers by honoring those families who have farmed or ranched the same land their ancestors did 100 years ago, and at least 40 acres of the original parcel of land is still maintained as part of the present holding,” explained Earl Bennett, Idaho State Historical Society, region 2.
Since the program began in 1990, more than 450 farms and ranches statewide have been designated Idaho Century Farms or Ranches. Bennet said 25 of those are in Idaho County.
According to a 1920 Census Bulletin, in 1920 there were approximately 42,106 farms in Idaho, today there are just more than 24,500 farm and ranches in Idaho, according to a recent Census of Agriculture State Bulletin, producing more than 185 commodities. During the 1950s Idaho’s farms decreased in number and increased in size. The average acreage per farm in the 1920s was approximately 198; today it is approximately 468 acres. For information on the program, log onto https://history.idaho.gov/century-farm/.