FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 17, 2009
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
COFFEE COUNTY FARM JOINS STATE’S CENTURY FARMS PROGRAM
107-Year-Old Freeze Farm Becomes County’s 10th Century Farm
(MURFREESBORO)—The Freeze Farm in Coffee County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, reports Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms program at the Center for Historic Preservation, which is located on the MTSU campus.
Known as Freeze Farm since 1902, Rufus Freeze purchased the acreage that was part of a land grant signed by Neil S. Brown, who served as Tennessee’s governor from 1847 to 1849. Per the Freeze family, the grant allowed for a one-acre church tract that was never utilized. However, a small cemetery, which is believed to be a slave burial ground, is on the farm.
Following the farm’s founding, Freeze and wife Rena lived and worked on the 68-acre farm with their three sons, Claude, George and Walter. The family raised cattle, mules, corn, and soybeans. In 1936, the sons inherited the property, with Claude and George continuing to work the acreage until 1947 when Claude bought his brothers’ share of the farm.
During Claude’s ownership, he and wife Ruby, along with their two children, raised corn, soybeans, cattle and mules. A veteran of World War I, Claude served in Germany in the 1st Infantry Division. Ruby was active in the Home Demonstration Club and the American Legion Auxiliary.
In 1993, Grady T. Freeze, son of Claude and Ruby and the grandson of the founders, acquired the farm. Grady was a member of 4-H during his school years and he has raised polled Hereford cattle for 40 years. He currently raises hay on this property to support a cattle operation on a nearby farm.
“The Freeze Farm is the 10th Century Farm to be certified in Coffee County,” Hankins confirmed.
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, 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, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.