FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 18, 2008
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
STATEWIDE PROGRAM RECOGNIZES McMINN COUNTY FARM FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
110-Tear-Old Pickens Farm Becomes County’s 38th Designated Century Farm
(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—The J. K. Pickens Farm in McMinn 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, which is located on the MTSU campus.
Julius Kennedy “J. K.” Pickens purchased nearly 400 acres about 10 miles south of Athens in 1898. Married to Rose Beasley Pickens, the couple had four children: Verbena, Reece, Diora and Charles. Corn, hay, cattle, cotton and wheat were the primary farm commodities. The house in which the family lived was constructed prior to the Civil War and the front was added 1866. A granary and barn also date from this period.
Charles A. Pickens acquired the property in 1909. He and wife Kizzar Price Pickens had three children: Spencer Price, Marie Dodson and J. K. The family grew hay, beef cattle and watermelons.
Additionally, the family’s women have a long tradition with women’s clubs, including Kizzar, who belonged to the Tomato Club, which was the forerunner of the Home Demonstration Club. Soon after J. K. Pickens and wife Edna became the next generation to own farm in 1946, Edna joined the Home Demonstration Club. After more than 60 years of active membership, she continues to participate in the Claxton Home Makers.
Today, Edna lives on the farm, which has been in the Pickens family for 110 years as of Feb. 14.. She leases acreage to Donny Brown and Curtis Howard, who raise hay and cattle on the land.
“The J. K. Pickens Farm is the 38th Century Farm to be certified in McMinn County,” Hankins confirmed.
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 farm or the Century Farm metal sign that is placed on designated properties, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.