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