PUEBLO - On August 24 at the Colorado State Fair, thirty-one farm and ranch operations were recognized for their contribution to the state of Colorado, and received Centennial Farms and Ranches status by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and History Colorado.

Speakers and special guests included Colorado FFA President Wade Yoder, Executive Director of History Colorado Steve Turner, Colorado State Fair General Manager Scott Stoller, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown, and Colorado's Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne. Many other public officials and elected representatives were also present during the presentation.

The celebration was held in honor of farm and ranch families in the Centennial state who have been working the same land for 100 years or more.

Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown's family is a Centennial Farms and Ranches recipient; he sported his commemorative pin during his speech as he talked about this monumental achievement.

"I think your ancestors would be surprised that your operation has lasted 100 years, they were probably really happy if it lasted the first 100 days," says Brown. "I think that speaks volumes about what we are doing here today."

"This is your day, enjoy it, savor it. Take a moment to thank those before you, as I thank those who came before me. Thank you for attending, congratulations, may it last another hundred years," declares Brown.

Farms and ranches from numerous counties across the state were presented with an official Centennial Farms and Ranches metal sign to display on their property, a plaque, and a certificate which is a proclamation from the Colorado State Legislature.  

An incredible amount of history was presented during the ceremony as the master of ceremonies gave a brief background of each operation and how it was founded. This year, farms and ranches with founding dates between 1876 - 1918 received Centennial status. Vigil Farms of Conejos County was established in 1876, the same year as Colorado's statehood.

In her remarks, Donna Lynne spoke about the importance of agriculture in Colorado, and the attitudes of Colorado citizens regarding agriculture. "We have close to 200,000 jobs in Colorado that are connected to agriculture, and it's worth $40 billion to our economy. We eat everything you produce: beef, cantaloupe, corn, peaches...So, you all play an amazing role in producing economical, safe, and wholesome food for us," declares Lynne. "Even though sometimes you might feel neglected, there recently was a study done on the public attitudes of people in this country and Colorado. In regards to Colorado agriculture, over 90% of the people who live here believe that agriculture is critical to their way of life."

According to Wade Yoder, at the conclusion of this year's ceremony, the state of Colorado has recognized 581 Centennial Farms and Ranches.
2018 Centennial Farm and Ranch recipients

Ashcraft Farm & Ranch (Matheson, CO.), Bieser Family Ranch (Mesa, CO.), Bond Metz Farms (Monte Vista, CO.), Chestnut Farms (Kersey, CO.), Cottonwood Farms (Weldona, CO.), Dale J. and Denice Seufer Farm (Prowers County), Dracon Family Farm (Julesburg, CO.), Frank Greenlee Farm (Cortez, CO.), Gebauer Farms (Akron, CO.), Gergen Farms (Burlington, CO.), Gillham's Rim Ranch (Peetz, CO.), The Gray Farm (Cheyenne County), Hamilton Feed and Livestock (Yoder, CO.), Harold G. Vickerman Ranch (Westcliffe, CO.), James P. Brophy Homeplace (Eckley, CO.), Koberstein Farm (Phillips County), Koch Farms & Ranch (Haxtun, CO.), Koppenhafer Ranch (Cortez, CO.), Kravig Homestead Farm (Karval, CO.), Longacre Ranch (Fort Morgan, CO.), Lusch-Merwald Family Farm (Logan County), Oestman Farm and Ranch (Wray, CO.), Prussman-Hofmeister (Amherst, CO.), The R.M. Haythorn Farm (Eaton, CO.), Schaal Cattle Co. (Burlington, CO.), Smith Ranch (Lake George, CO.), Sporleder Ranch (Walsenburg, CO.), Vigil Farms (Capulin, CO.), Wailes Farm (Arapahoe County), The Whitney Place (Haxton, CO.), and Windy Ridge Land, LLC (Lamar, CO).

About Centennial Farms and Ranches Program

In 1986 the Colorado Centennial Farms & Ranches program was created by Governor Richard D. Lamm, the Colorado Historical Society (now History Colorado) and the Colorado Department of Agriculture to recognize the critical role agriculture has played in our state's history and economic development. Today, the program is administered by History Colorado. The Colorado Centennial Farms & Ranches program was the first program of its kind in the nation to give a Historic Structures Award to families who have successfully preserved historic buildings on their farms and ranches.

To apply for Colorado Centennial Farms and Ranches designation, owners must submit an application providing information about the history of the property and its buildings/structures, indicating that the farm or ranch meets the program's requirements.