CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
CANNON COUNTY FARM JOINS RANKS OF STATE’S CENTURY FARMS PROGRAM
117-Year-Old Vinson Farm 13th Century Farm in County, Hankins Reports
(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—The Vinson Farm in Cannon County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, reports Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms Program at the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP), which is located on the MTSU campus.
In 1890, Theophilus and Parilee Vinson paid $1,450 in cash for 70 acres in the 6th Civil District. Here, the family raised corn, sugar cane, hay, hogs, cattle, mules and horses and established a tradition of diverse farming that their descendants would still practice more than 100 years later.
The founders’ children, Bertha, Mollie, Altie, Charlie, Houston, Jim Roy and Wiley, inherited the farm after the deaths of their father and mother in 1910 and 1929, respectively. In 1962, the grandson of the founder, Robert W. Vinson, son of Wiley, acquired the land. He and his wife, Marjorie, have seven children—Brenda, Pat, Glenda, Gary, Dwight, Billy and Mary.
Today, Dwight and Gary, the fourth generation to work the family farm, produce a variety of crops and livestock. The original farmhouse is still a part of this historic agricultural landscape.
Hankins said the Vinson Farm is the 13th certified Century Farm in Cannon County.
The Century Farm Program recognizes the contributions of Tennessee residents who have continuously owned, and kept in production, family land for at least 100 years. Since 1984, the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU has been a leader in the important work of documenting Tennessee’s agricultural heritage and history through the Tennessee Century Farm Program, and continues to administer this program.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) began the Tennessee Century Farm Program in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial. Today the TDA provides a metal outdoor sign, noting either 100, 150 or 200 years of “continuous agricultural production” to Century Farm families.
To be considered for eligibility, a farm must be owned by the same family for at least 100 years; must produce $1,000 revenue annually; must have at least 10 acres of the original farm; and one owner must be a resident of Tennessee.
“The Century Farmers represent all the farm families of Tennessee,” Hankins said, “and their contributions to the economy, and to the social, cultural, and agrarian vitality of the state, both past and present, is immeasurable. Each farm is a Tennessee treasure.”
For more information about the Century Farms Program, please visit its Web site at http://histpres.mtsu.edu/histpres. The Center for Historic Preservation also may be contacted via mail at Box 80, MTSU, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 37132, or by telephone at 615-898-2947.
• ATTENTION, MEDIA: To interview Hankins or the farm’s owners, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.