During the Sept. 1 Perry County Farm Bureau meeting, Kent Kassel, the vice president of the county's Extension Council, presented several families with century farm signs. In addition, one family was recognized with a certificate for a founding farm that began prior to the Lewis and Clark expedition, and is the third oldest farm in Missouri.
Leah Morey and Lois (Charles) Sanders were called forward and recognized by Kassel for the Sanders family farm, which dates back to 1797.
The original 680-acre farm, which is located on Perry County Road 917, was purchased in 1797 by Lewis and Catherine Coteaux (pronounced "coat-tea-a"). The farm was recognized as a century farm in 1976 when it had 377 acres.
Similar to many Perry County farms, there was row cropland but it was primarily used for hay, pasture and raising cattle.
The great-great grandparents of Charles Sanders were the original owners. Charles’ great-grandparents then owned it. Thomas Sanders came to the U.S. from Germany and rode horseback from Maryland to Perry County and married Luzette Coteaux. The farm then went to Charles' grandparents and then his parents. In 1960, Charles and Lois assumed ownership.
A new type of agricultural recognition highlighting the family longevity of farming, “Founding Farms,” is part of Missouri's 200th anniversary, Kassel said.
"As part of the Century Farm program this year alone, we are recognizing a special category of 30 Founding Farms - Century Farms that have been in the same family continuously since 1821 or earlier.
Prior to Missouri formally becoming a state, farmers were tiling the soil, harvesting trees and floating lumber down the rivers to build community, which were taking root on the far western edge of the nation's frontier, Kassel noted.
From the early farm settlements to the more modern operations that continue Missouri's agricultural, ranching and entrepreneurial traditions, farm families have been essential to both the state and nation's growth, Kassel said.
The oldest farm purchased in Missouri was in New Madrid County in 1792. That farm was divided three ways yet still remains owned by the same family. The second oldest farm was bought in 1794 and also is in New Madrid County.
In order to be selected as a Missouri century farm, several criteria must be met, including: having been owned by the same family for 100 or more consecutive years, the line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings or nephews or nieces, and the present farm must include no less than 40 acres of the original land and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.
There were a total of nine Century Farms in Perry County this year, including: