FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 21, 2007
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
STATEWIDE PROGRAM RECOGNIZES CANNON COUNTY FARM FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
105-Year-Old Cooper Farm Becomes County’s 6th Designated Century Farm
(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—The Cooper Farm in Cannon 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.
In September 1902, Joseph A. and Margaret King Cooper established a 150-acre farm in the Ivy Bluff community. With their seven children, they raised horses, mules, cattle, sheep, corn and hay. In February 1913, Joseph sold 75 acres to his son, J. Taylor Cooper, and his wife, Nancy.
When the heirs of Joseph and Margaret sold their portions of the farm, J. Taylor purchased the remaining 75 acres and returned the farm to its original 150 acres. During his ownership, J. Taylor raised mules, horses, cattle, chickens, corn and hay. J. Taylor, married first to Nancy and then to Minnie Bowman, fathered five children.
The third generation to own the farm was Everett R. Cooper, who obtained the property in 1953. Everett married Gladys N. Mingle Cooper and they had three children, June, Nancy and Raymond. Under his ownership, Everett operated the farm as a dairy until 1975 when he and son Raymond Cooper began to cultivate corn, soybeans and wheat and raising beef cattle. Everett, a Progressive farmer, made many improvements and followed conservation practices. In 1971, the Cooper Farm was the first in the county to plant by the “no-till method.”
In 1971, the great-grandson of the founder, Raymond, became the fourth generation to own the farm by securing some of the acreage, and by 1984, he had the full 150 acres. Today, Raymond, wife Patricia Campbell Cooper and their son, Andrew and wife Amy, live and work on the farm.
In 2007, the Cooper Farm won the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Agriculture and Forestry. This award is given for the “soil conservation efforts that had taken place on the farm and the protection of habitats for endangered species.”
“The Cooper family continues the legacy of successful farming begun by its founders, Joseph and Margaret, 105 years ago this year,” Hankins noted.
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 CHP 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.