To register a farm as a Tennessee Century Farm, request an application packet by contacting:
Tennessee Century Farms Program
Center for Historic Preservation
MTSU, Box 80
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
You may also view or download the Century Farms Application online. After downloading and saving the application to your computer, you can fill it out, print it and send it in the mail to the address above. There are three application deadlines annually: March 1, July 1, and November 1. You are welcome to submit your complete application at any time throughout the year but know it will be processed in the weeks following these deadlines.
What to include:
The application must include the founder’s name and a founding date which you must be able to prove by deed, census record, family papers, or other legal documentation. Beginning with the founder, you will be asked to list the generations of ownership of the farm through the family to the present day owner. The application also has space for you to recount such information as crops, family stories, involvement in agricultural, civic and community activities and organizations, and the like. The application must be notarized and also signed by the county agent or county historian.
You are invited to include photographs, historic or contemporary, of the farm land, buildings, generations of family, animals, and crops. Photographs will be scanned and/or copied and returned to you on request. Please do not send your original photographs.
There is no fee for applying to the Century Farms Program. This program is administered as a public service by the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation.
What role does the Center for Historic Preservation fulfill?
Since 1985, when it assumed the administration of the Tennessee Century Farms Program the Center for Historic Preservation has considered the documentation of rural resources a priority. The program has provided an opportunity for shared interests among the Center, farm families, and other local, state and federal partners including the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; historical societies and museums; city and county governments; chambers of commerce; county extension offices, Resource and Conservation Development District Councils; Soil Conservation Districts; the Farm Service Administration; and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.
Taking rural preservation work in new directions, Center staff have successfully nominated several historic family farms to the National Register of Historic Places. This work paved the way for the innovative Historic Family Farms of Middle Tennessee multiple property nomination. Considered a model for rural preservation, this was the first thematic nomination in the country to deal with historic farmsteads. Many Century Farm families choose to have their farms nominated to the National Register as a protective measure from future federally-funded projects that may impact their farm. If you wish, take this opportunity to view a National Register fact sheet, telling what it does and what it does not do. For more information view Century Farms and the National Register of Historic Places.
The CHP, working with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Historical Commission, serves as a clearing house of information on the Tennessee Century Farms Program, National Register preparation of farms, and is a national leader in documentation and interpretation of historic family farms.
For more information on the programs and services of the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, please return to or visit the Center for Historic Preservation web site.
If you have questions about this process, use the same contact information provided above.
What happens next?
Once you have submitted your application by March 1, July 1, or November 1, it is reviewed and processed at the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation. Within one to two weeks a letter will be sent indicating the receipt of your application. Within four to six weeks after these deadlines, certified farms will receive a certification letter along with a certificate that you may choose to frame. A file is prepared on your farm and it is added to the respective county file, joining the over 1000 other Century Farms that make up this significant collection on the state’s agricultural history. A news release will be sent to your local newspaper and your farm will be featured on the Center for Historic Preservation’s forthcoming blog.
After your application is processed and approved, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture will be notified that you are to receive a complimentary yellow metal sign. One sign is provided free to each farm. The sign program is funded by the Tennessee AG TAG specialty license plate. You may order additional signs for your farm by printing the Century Farm Additional Sign Order Form, completing it, and mailing it with a check to the TDA as instructed on the form.