The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 21, 2013

Frankie Meyer: Century farm owners abound

By Frankie Meyer
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — Do you own at least 40 acres of land that have been in your family continuously for 100 years or more? Does the land make a financial contribution to your income?

If so, your farm may qualify to be a century farm. The line of ownership from the original settler can be through children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, marriage and adoption.

The century farm program in Missouri was started in 1976. Since that time, 7,700 farms have received that recognition. A list of those farms is available at the website centuryfarm. The program is sponsored by the University of Missouri Extension, the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and Farm Bureau.

The list of century farms includes the number of acres in each farm, the year that the families first settled there, name of the current owners, name of the original settlers and the year the farms were approved as century farms. Most entries also list the relationship of the current owners to the original settlers.

A check of Southwest Missouri counties shows that Barry has 70 farms that been recognized as century farms; Barton, 59; Jasper, 57; Lawrence, 93; McDonald, 38; Newton, 42; and Vernon, 77.

The following farms in Southwest Missouri were approved in 2012:

Century farm families often include community leaders who are interested in preserving family and local history.

I noticed the Higgs family is on the Barry County list. Betty (Higgs) Lamberson has played a key role in preserving the Wheaton Depot and developing it into a museum. The Tatum family appears on the McDonald County list, having been strong supporters of the McDonald County Museum.

Rose Stauber, who grew up on the Stauber century farm in McDonald County, has canvassed hundreds of cemeteries in the area and compiled information. She has also volunteered for many years in the genealogy section at the Grove Public Library.

The Newton County list includes Gus Buzzard, the man who built the dams along Lost Creek that have helped prevent massive floods that once plagued the Seneca area. He and his wife, Agnes, compiled extensive information on the related families of the Racine area. Look through the list, and you will recognize the names of many similar families.

Century farm applications for 2013 will be available through extension offices after Feb. 3.

Suggestions or queries? Write to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168 or email