Questions for Prospective Owners:

Questions for Current Owners:

Miscellaneous Questions:

Questions for Prospective Owners:

What are the requirements for a property to become a Century Farm?

All four of the following requirements must be met to be considered:

  • 10 acres or more of the original farm owned by the founder(s);
  • must produce at least $1000 in revenue annually and specifically during the past 12 months (though documentation does not have to be submitted);
  • has been in the family continuously for 100 years or more, and provides proof of the founding date and owner, and can provide chain showing all family owners from founder to the present owner;
  • one owner must be a Tennessee resident.

Is there a cost to certify my farm as a Century Farm?

No, this program is administered as a public service by the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU.

Signs are provided by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and funded through the Ag-Tag program.

The owner of the farm lives out of state. Is the farm still eligible for Century Farm status?

No, one of the requirements has always been that at least one owner must be a resident of TN.

If, however, a family member owns one acre of the property, that would allow you to make application and both would be listed as owners of the farm. A possibility is to consult a real estate lawyer about a Quit Claim deed for a Tennessee family member who lives in the state to satisfy the residency requirement.

What is meant by ‘family ownership’?”

‘Family’ includes brothers, sisters, spouses, daughters, sons, and grandchildren, and also cousins, nephews, and nieces. Legally adopted relations are also considered family. The determining question is ‘How is the current owner, or previous owners, related to the founder(s) or the founder’s spouse?’ If there is no familial relationship, then the chain of ownership is not acceptable for the certification.

What if a deed does not exist because the courthouse burned or one was never filed? 

Federal census records are the next best legal document. Example: the family is known or thought to have been in a county in a specific district in 1845, then they would be listed in the 1850 census in that district and place. Their listing in that census is considered proof and the farm would date from that census year.

The burial date of the founder(s) in the family cemetery on the farm may be used as the founding date.

Information in a family Bible is also considered legal proof.

The original farm has been divided between more than one family member. Do we apply for one Century Farm?

You may either apply as one farm with multiple owners, or you may apply as individual farms with the same history until the generation where the property is divided and the history follows different family members. Farm names may not be the same, however.

To distinguish, use farm names like these examples: Blain Farm, Albert Blain Farm, Dorothy Blain Farm, Blain Farm 1, Blain Farm East, etc.

There are no buildings on the farm. Can the property still be a Century Farm?

Yes. If all requirements are met, the fact that no buildings remain does not preclude being certified.

We do not live on the farm. Can the property still be a Century Farm?

Yes, as long as all requirements are met.

The farm is leased to someone who cares for the livestock and/or crops. Can the property still be a Century Farm?

Yes, as long as all requirements are met.

Questions for Current Owners:

What if ownership of the farm transferred out of the family?

The chain of family ownership was broken, and the years would have to begin from the time it returned to family ownership.

What if I find an earlier founding date after the farm has been certified?

You may submit that information in writing via fax, email, or postal mail. View contact info here. The farm’s founding date will be changed on all records. Keep in mind that the proof must be a legal document – deed, will, census records, and the like.

Does Century Farm status provide any legal protection for my farm?

No, the program is for recognition and documentation.

What happens if the farm is sold?

It ceases to be a Century Farm and is removed from the data base and website. Files are kept, however, for documentary information.

How do I get another sign?

Signs are provided by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and additional signs may be ordered for $30. Please make checks payable to the Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture and mail to:
Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture, Attention: Lynne Williams, P.O. Box 40627, Nashville, TN, 37204.

How do I update information about my farm?

Please send updates in writing by fax, email, or postal mail. Contact information is available here. Always provide the name of the farm and the county. Give complete contact information, including address, phone number, and e-mail for the owner of record and other owners. Also, include information on crops, buildings, and events.

Miscellaneous Questions:

Do I have to be the owner of a Century Farm to provide information for a press release or the website?

Updates and corrections for Century Farms records are accepted only from owners, their designated representative, or from county agents or county historians, who may provide information at the request of the Century Farms director.

To connect and share stories or recollections of Century Farms, please visit our Facebook page!

Is contact information for Century Farm owners made public?

The Century Farms program appreciates and recognizes the need for privacy and security. We never place specific locations, addresses, or phone numbers on the website or in news releases. If you do not wish a news release to be sent to your local paper announcing certification, or if you do not wish your farm’s history to be placed on the website, please advise us, and we will comply with the owners’ wishes.

On request, the program does, however, provide a list to fair boards who are planning Century Farm events in their county or to farm preservation and conservation easement non-profits who wish to provide information to Century Farmers. We request of these groups that the lists be used only for that purpose and not shared with any other group or individual.

What is a Pioneer Century Farm?

A Pioneer Century Farm is one that was founded in the year 1796 or prior to the year 1796. Pioneer Century Farms are recognized as predating statehood with a special certificate upon acceptance to the Century Farms program.

What does National Register mean?

Please visit the Tennessee Historical Commission website for further information regarding the National Register.

More information regarding the National Register and Century Farms may be found here.

For further questions, please contact the current fieldwork coordinator at the Center for Historic Preservation via (615) 898-2947.