MONTGOMERY COUNTY FARM JOINS STATE’S CENTURY FARMS PROGRAM
175-Year-Old Rinehart Acres Recognized for Agricultural Contributions
(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—Rinehart Acres in Montgomery County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, reported Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms program at the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP), which is located on the MTSU campus.
Nearly 175 years ago, Jacob W. Rinehart purchased a farm that carries his name his descendents continue to work the land. Although the family has little information on Jacob and his wife, Hankins said, they know the names of six children—John, Jacob, Pleasant, Abram, Mary Ann and Nancy.
It was Abram who acquired the farm in 1854. He and wife Mary had five children, but also adopted brother Pleasant’s two children after his death. During this time, the farm supported a variety of crops and livestock.
In 1906, the grandson of the founder, John W. Rinehart, obtained the property. He and his Betty had three children. Eventually, one of their children, Boyd Rinehart, managed the farm and produced hay, tobacco, soybeans, wheat, cattle, hogs and chickens. Wed to Bessie Rinehart, the couple had two children, John and Ann.
The fifth generation to own the farm was John Boyd Rinehart, who obtained the property in 1996. John and his wife, Pat, had two sons, Chris and Steve, and on the 190 acres, the family raised tobacco, soybeans, corn, sorghum and cattle.
In 2006, Chris J. and Steve Rinehart became the owners of the farm, continuing the farming tradition begun by their great-great-great-grandparents. Today, however, the property, which operates as an agritourism venture, mainly produces hay and blueberries have been planted, Hankins said.
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.