FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 5, 2008
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
STATE PROGRAM RECOGNIZES GREENE COUNTY FARM FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Neas Mountain View Farm Designated Tennessee Century Farm
(MURFREESBORO)—The Neas Mountain View Farm in Greene 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.
Progressive farming and community/civic involvement are hallmarks of the Neas family, whose founders aptly named their farm for its spectacular landscape. On Feb. 13, 1906, Joseph Felix “J. F.” Neas and Vertie Elizabeth Love Neas founded a farm near Greeneville. The couple’s five children were Curtis, Lawrence Estil, Coy, Haskill and Maggie.
During their ownership, the farm produced corn, tobacco, wheat, oats, beef cattle and swine. According to the family’s records, Felix was one of several community members who worked to construct St. James School in 1895. In addition, he donated rock from a rock quarry on the farm that was used to build and improve Allen’s Bridge Road, a main route between Greeneville and Newport. In 1918, Felix sold five acres of land for the Meadow Creek Presbyterian Church, which borders the farm.
Lawrence Estil Neas was the second generation to own the farm. He and his wife, Hazel Hadeen Gammon Neas, were the parents of Ernestine and Buford. The farm had many changes during this ownership, including the addition of 16.75 acres and the construction of a frame house, two tenant houses and three barns. The family grew wheat, oats, corn, tobacco, vegetables and fruit and raised dairy cattle, chickens and pigs.
In 1951, Ernestine and Buford divided the land. Ernestine married Rufus Miller; they named their daughter Brenda. Buford wed Billie Joyce Johnson, and they had two children, Sherrian Lynn and Jerry Allen. During this time, both farms produced a wide variety of crops and livestock, including wheat, oats, tobacco, corn, cattle, chickens, pigs and vegetables.
In addition to managing the farm, Buford served as an educator and was the first principal of Nolachuckey Elementary School located near the farm. He served in that role from 1979 until his 1990 retirement. Buford also was active in many agricultural related organizations and served as a board member of the Greene County Fair Association, a member and president of the Greene County Livestock Association, vice president of the Tennessee Beef Cattle Improvement Association and vice president of the Tennessee Simmental Association.
In 1987, Jerry and wife Helen Galyon Neas purchased his aunt’s portion of the farm. Prior to owning the farm, Jerry was an active member of the FFA at South Greene High School and received an award for his scholarship, leadership and supervision of a farm program. In addition, he won the district FFA Public Speaking Award in 1968 and
won first place for Greene County in the 1967 Annual Co-op Essay Contest. Jerry has also been a member of the Greene County Angus Association, the East Tennessee Angus Association, the Tennessee Angus Association and the American Angus Association.
Jerry’s and Helen’s children, Staci, Brian and Kelli, were involved in 4-H and FFA and showed Angus cattle for eight years at local, state and national competitions. According to the family, they won many division championships and at times, took Grand Champion at regional competitions. Today, the farm raises hay, small grain, Angus cattle, pigs, vegetables, blueberries and blackberries.
Over the years, the farm has been recognized for its agricultural contributions in the community. In March 1988 the farm was featured in the Greeneville Sun because of its use of fungus-free fescue in the pasture fields. The farm has also been selected as “Farmstead of the Month” by the Agriculture Council of the Chamber of Commerce in Greene County, an award is presented to farmers who do an above-average job of keeping their place neat and clean. Then, in December 2007, the Tennessee Cooperator also focused on the farm and highlighted the cattle-handling equipment and an immobilizer manufactured by Numark Inc. that is partially owned by Jerry.
“The Neas Mountain View Farm is the 45th Century Farm to be certified in Greene County which, after Wilson County, has the most Century Farms in Tennessee,” Hankins said.
About the Century Farms Program
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 denoting 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 jpegs of the farms, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.