Commissioner Todd Staples is encouraging families who wish to apply for the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Family Land Heritage Program to get started on their applications now. The Family Land Heritage Program recognizes farms and ranches that have been in continuous agricultural production by the same family for at least 100 years or more.

“Since its inception in 1974, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Family Land Heritage Program has honored more than 4,300 Texas farms and ranches in 233 counties,” Commissioner Staples said. “This is proof Texas has a rich history of agriculture.”

Applications, which are due Sept. 15, will be accepted for farms or ranches established in 1908 or earlier that are still owned and operated by the decedents of the founder, either through blood, marriage or adoption. The land must also fit the old U.S. Census definition of a farm: 10 acres or more with agricultural sales of $50 or more a year; or if less than 10 acres, sales of at least $250 a year.

The owners must reside in Texas and actively manage the everyday operation of the farm or ranch. If all the land has ever been rented or leased to someone outside of the family, it will not qualify. If only a portion was leased, and as much as 10 acres were retained in the family for agricultural production with sales of at least $50 annually, the property will still qualify. There is no cost to apply for the recognition.

For an application or more information, contact Michelle Sneed at 512-463-2631, P.O. Box 12847, Austin, Texas 78711. The application can also be downloaded at www.tda.state.tx.us under the Family Land Heritage link.