Thursday, August 15, 2013

Children of the Corn

As a child of Illinois, when it is summer you know that corn is everywhere. I mean everywhere. It's grown on a farm at the end of my street, and I drive past acres and acres during the day. The best part is being able to stop at a farm stand, farmer's pickup truck, or an on-your-honor cart to buy fresh-picked sweetcorn. Illinois is one of the corn-growing capitals of the Midwest. Illinois rivals Iowa in corn production, and it produces between 15-20% of US-grown corn.

Most of my ancestors before 1900 were farmers. Many traveled from New England and Canada into the Midwest. Like many families, they didn't stay in one place for too many generations. But if your family did, and the farm continued to be passed on from one generation to the next, there are resources to help you search for long time family farms: centennial farm registries.

Many state agricultural departments have created a way to recognize the family farm. Owners can submit various types of proof (and perhaps a fee) and then have the farm verified as a Centennial Farm. In Illinois, there is also a Sesquicentennial Farm registry.

Here are some Midwestern state links for further research:

Illinois Registry Information

old Illinois centennial farm sign in Kendall County

Indiana Registry Information

Iowa Registry Information

Michigan Registry Information

Minnesota Registry Information

Ohio Registry Information

Similar programs exist for other states. Search "centennial farm."

© 2013 Sally Knudsen


  1. Now I want a hot ear of corn, dripping with butter!

  2. Do you know I live in a place surrounded by corn--as well as lots of other agricultural products--and just visited two very corn-y states? And yet, Colleen's comment made me realize: I haven't had any fresh-picked corn all summer. Guess I better hurry! Kids are already back in school. Must mean summer's over :(

  3. And I'm not really a corn fan, unless it's fresh sweetcorn. Mmm! Thanks for reading!

  4. There's something magical about a cornfield... and maybe a little scary too ;) My mom was born in Illinois and used to tell the story of how she got lost in the cornfield outside the back door when she was a kid. We grow a little here in southern Alberta but nothing like what you have there. Really hope to see it some day!

    1. That would be scary! I hope you see our cornfields, too.

  5. Sally,

    Thanks for these links! I want you to know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. What a great idea! Here is the link to the Century Farm program in Missouri: