FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 18, 2008
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
STATEWIDE PROGRAM RECOGNIZES BLOUNT COUNTY FARM FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Country Acres Farm Becomes County’s 32nd Designated Century Farm
(MURFREESBORO)—The Country Acres Farm in Blount County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, announced Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms Program at the Center for Historic Preservation, which is located on the MTSU campus.
Located 10 miles west of Maryville, Country Acres Farm was founded by William T. and Ann Anderson O’Connor in 1900. The parents of six children, the family raised corn, tobacco and cattle. The family also recalls that the county court was sometimes held in the dining room of the house. Assignments were given to the men of the community for road work to maintain the gravel roads.
In 1937, Ross O’Connor and wife Beulah acquired the property. During this generation’s ownership, tobacco and cattle continued to be the primary income-producing products. Beulah was active in community work, including the Home Demonstration Club, which often met on the farm. In addition, Beulah was involved in the Young People’s Mission Work at church and taught many members of the community to read and write. Beulah died in 1965. In 1977, Ross married Jacquelyn Phelps DeVault and she became an owner of the farm at that time. When Ross died in 1988, the farm became her property.
Today, Jacquelyn and her husband, Ken Mack, work the acreage that mainly produces wheat, hay and garden vegetables. They live in the 1917 house, though over the years they have done extensive remodeling. A tobacco barn, built in 1952 by Ross and Jacqueline’s father, Ralph Phelps, remains an important building on the farm.
“Country Acres Farm is the 32nd Century Farm to be certified in Blount County,” 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 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 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 the farm’s owners or request a jpeg of the Century Farm metal sign that is placed on designated properties, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.