Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward on Friday inducted 40 Arkansas farms into the Arkansas Century Farm Program at the State Capitol.
Among the inductees were three from Faulkner County: the Elijah J. Tyler Farm, established in 1888; the Henderson Family Farm, established in 1858; and the Vann Family Farm, also established in 1888.
According to his grandson and current land owner Bill Tyler and his daughter Kim, the Elijah J. Tyler Farm was primarily used for cotton, livestock and blacksmiths.
"Locals would bring their plow points for Tyler to sharpen and their horses and mules to be shod," said Bill.
Elijah’s son Dennis and his wife, Gladys Blair Tyler, bought and maintained their portion of the farm until 1978, when their son, Bill and his wife Cathy purchased the property.
"It wasn’t all just inherited," explained Kim, who said that they had to purchase their rights to the land.
The farm, located in Greenbrier, is currently used as rental property and cattle grazing. The family plans to restore the house (built by Elijah Tyler) to its original state and to keep the property in the Tyler family.
The family says they are honored to be a part of the solid foundation of which Faulkner County was built.
The Henderson Family farm’s original 160 acres were used for dairy and corn row crop farming.
Traci Henderson of Greenbrier says that over the years, the dairy farm, transitioned into a beef cattle operation, which currently produces registered Black Angus cattle.
These cattle are used for breeding stock and sold at local cattle markets.
The Henderson family says they "appreciate the state’s acknowledgement and support of the hard work and dedication that is required when agriculture is your way of life."
"We are thankful and humbled by past generations and look forward to the future of agriculture for our family," said Henderson.
The Vann Family Farm, also located in Greenbrier, was used to raise cows and hogs and to grow corn.
"It’s main function was to sustain a family," said current owner Bruce Vann.
In 1893, the farm was passed down to Vann’s grandfather, who passed it down to Vann’s father in 1914.
"And in 1973, he passed it to me." explained Vann.
The farm has been used for cows, hay, and even a few years of growing sorghum molasses.
"I appreciate the recognition of the farm and getting to share my heritage to my children and grandchildren," said Vann.
The Arkansas Century Farm Program recognizes Arkansas farms of 10 acres or more owned by the same family for at least a century.
The Arkansas Agriculture Department began the Century Farm program in 2012 as a way to highlight the contributions of these families to the agriculture industry well as their overall contributions to our state. Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, contributing more than $20 billion to the state’s economy annually and providing one in every six jobs in the state. Arkansas consistently ranks in the top 25 nationally in the production of 23 agricultural commodities.
"Through obstacles and challenges you have maintained your commitment to your farm and to your family. When families are strong, our communities are strong, and our state is strong" said Governor Hutchinson to the Century Farm Families.
Including new inductees, 376 farms are currently recognized as Arkansas Century Farms. The 40 newly inducted Century Farms are located in the following 27 counties: Arkansas, Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Columbia, Craighead, Drew, Faulkner, Franklin, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Jefferson, Little River, Logan, Lonoke, Marion, Montgomery, Newton/Searcy, Pope, Prairie, Sebastian, Sharp, Stone, Union, White, and Woodruff.
Applications for the 2018 Century Farm Inductees will open in February, 2018. For questions about the Arkansas Century Farm program, contact Mary Elizabeth Lea at firstname.lastname@example.org.