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Oklahoma Centennial Farm & Ranch Program

Program History

The Oklahoma Historical Society and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture take great pride in cosponsoring the Oklahoma Centennial Farm & Ranch Program to recognize the vital role farm and ranch families have played in the state's past and will play in its future. The hard work and determination necessary to succeed in farming and ranching make it clear that those families who have been involved in the business for 100 years or more are certainly a special group of people. We extend our appreciation to rural families for their contributions to the State's heritage and to its economy.

The Oklahoma Centennial Farm and Ranch Program was officially announced by Governor Henry Bellmon in March 1989, and he received its first application from H.C. Hitch Jr., owner of the Panhandle's well-known Hitch Ranch. Since then, more than 1,600 families have received recognition through the program.

While the program was initially created in part as a way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Run of 1889, the '89ers and those who took part in other land openings are only some of the families to operate farms and ranches for at least a century. Many American Indian families have occupied their land for much longer, and still other families who now qualify for the program did not arrive in Oklahoma until after statehood. To see a list of the families recognized to date, visit http://www.okhistory.org/shpo/frrecips.htm.

To qualify for the program, a family must have occupied their land for at least 100 years, and the land must be a working farm or ranch of at least forty acres, generate at least $1,000 in annual sales, and be operated by or lived on by a family member, or be leased out by a family member. Historic structures awards are given if four or more buildings or structures more than fifty years old remain on the land.

The Oklahoma Historical Society receives and reviews program applications throughout the year. Each qualifying family receives a special certificate and has the opportunity to purchase a metal sign for display on their farm or ranch. For further information, contact the Shea Otley at 405-522-4485 or Shea.Otley@history.ok.gov.