From the Consumers Energy Foundation, Chris Thelen, Lansing Area Manager, and Carolyn Bloodworth, Director of Corporate Giving; from the Historical
Society of Michigan, Larry Wagenaar, Executive Director, and Kellie Bolster,Centennial Farm Program Coordinator.
By Rick Garcia
Michigan agriculture contributes $91.4 billion dollars to the state’s economy and employs over 923,000 people. What many don’t know is that Michigan farmers grow and raise more than 300 varieties of food/commodities and that 98% of Michigan farms are family owned.
The Historical Society of Michigan and key corporations like Consumers Energy Foundation and DTE Energy Foundation have proudly acknowledge these family farms, particularly those that have been in handed down for generations – through the Centennial Farm Program.
The Centennial Farm Program recently received a check for $20,000 from the Consumers Energy Foundation, which has been a major sponsor of the farm program for more than 60 years. Larry Wagenaar, Executive Director of the Historical Society of Michigan, along with Kellie Bolster, Centennial Farm Program Coordinator, acknowledged the generous gift from the foundation during a ceremony that took place on the Moubray Farm in St. Johns, Michigan.
Carolyn Bloodworth, Director of Corporate Giving for the Consumers Energy Foundation, and Chris Thelen, Lansing Area Manager, were on hand to congratulate the Moubray family on their achievement and their newly installed Centennial Farm sign marker. The Moubray family farm, which was founded on February 28, 1914, was certified as a Centennial Farm on April 8, 2014.
“Consumers Energy Foundation’s support demonstrates the foundation’s commitment to not only help sustain communities but also recognize our state’s rich agriculture history,” said Wagenaar. “Families such as the Moubrays exemplify that success.”
The Centennial Farm Program recognizes farms that have remained in the same family for 100 years or more and highlights the farm’s contributions to Michigan’s development. To be designated as a Centennial Farm, a property must be a working farm of 10 or more acres that has been continuously owned by the same family for at least 100 years. The Historical Society of Michigan also offers a Sesquicentennial and Bicentennial Farm Program to recognize, upon request, certified Centennial Farms that have been owned by the same family for at least 150 or 200 years, respectively.
Once a farm is certified through the Michigan Centennial Farm Program, the owners will receive a certificate as well as a display marker for their farm. The official green-and-yellow markers are sponsored by Michigan electrical utility companies to commemorate the dramatic changes electricity brought to farm operation and family life. The family also receives a one-year membership with the Historical Society of Michigan. Centennial Farm families are also eligible for membership in the Michigan Centennial Farm Association, an affinity group of farmers who have obtained Centennial and/or Sesquicentennial farm status. The association was established in 1955.
The Michigan Centennial Farm Program has certified thousands of farms since its inception in 1948 and has been operated by the Historical Society of Michigan since 2008.
The DTE Energy Foundation is also a major sponsor of the Centennial Farm Program. Other corporations supporting the program include Greenstone Farm Credit (statewide) and AEP Indiana Michigan Power, which services customers in Southwest Michigan.
For more information about the program visit the Historical Society of Michigan www.hsmichigan.org