It’s official: Century Farms list hits 1,000

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2008

RICHMOND—With the help of 25 new Southampton County additions to the list, the Virginia Century Farms program went well past the 1,000 mark in March, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Community Services.

As of March 31, the program had recognized a total of 1,009 farms since the Virginia General Assembly established it in 1997, according to Marion Horsley, a spokesperson for the department.

Southampton leads Virginia counties and cities in representation on the Century Farms list, with 68 designated farms. The next-highest total is from Rockingham County, which has 46 vintage farms. Augusta and Franklin counties have 30 Century Farms each.

To qualify as a Century Farm, applicants must have been owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years, must be lived on or actually farmed by a descendant of the original owner and must gross more than $2,500 annually from the sale of agricultural products. At the discretion of the VDACS commissioner, tree farms may also qualify as Century Farms, even if they do not gross the stipulated amount in the sale of farm products.

The push to add farms to the list has much to do with area farmers’ love of their heritage, according to Century Farm owner Bruce Phillips, one of those who have been encouraging their neighbors to apply for the designation.

But in Southampton, the effort to grow the program has taken on an added level of urgency, as citizens look for ways to fight off a proposed Navy outlying landing field. Opponents hope the historic nature of the old farms will play a part in deterring the Navy from locating in Southampton.

There is no direct financial benefit to the Century Farm designation. Those farms chosen for inclusion in the program receive a certificate of recognition signed by the governor and the agriculture commissioner, along with an 11-by-17-inch aluminum sign for display on the farm.

There is no fee to apply. Applications are available from VDACS by calling (804) 786-2373; by mailing a request to Century Farm, VDACS, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218; by visiting the VDACS Web site at www.vdacs,; or by emailing

Southampton’s newest entrants on the Century Farms list are the following: A.B. Thorpe Farm, owned by Faye T. Coats and Edward A. Coats; A.J. Holt and M.C. Holt Farms, owned by Marian Bulls Cook; Barham’s Hill, owned by Ira Holt Barham and Mr. and Mrs. Chris Barham; Barrett Farm, owned by Harry G. Barrett Jr.; Darden Homeplace Farm, owned by Hunter Darden III; Elm Grove Farm, owned by Powell Farms, LLC; Erasmus Vick Farm, owned by Joseph Samuel Vick; Ferguson Homeplace, owned by Ferguson Brothers, LLC; Gardner Farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Hunter Darden Jr.; Hatfield Farms, owned by J. Edward Hatfield III; Hedgepeth-Hargrave Farm, owned by Nancy Hargrave Nagle Bolio; Jericho Farm, owned by Irene Darden Field; John I. Turner Farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. S. Bruce Phillips; Kello Farm, owned by Robert Francis Kello, Mariah Kello Nunn, Glynn Kello Parker, James Richard Kello IV, Martha Kello and Antoinette K. Quidley; Lee Vaughan Farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Hunter Darden Jr.; Powell’s Hill Farm, owned by Robert H. Powell III; Rock Spring Farm, owned by Mrs. William B. Gillette; Rock Spring Farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. William F. Gillette and Mr. and Mrs. Cooper P. Gillette Jr.; Rock Spring Farm, owned by William H. Gillette and Susan J. Gillette; Sebrell Farm, owned by Stafford Cass Camp; Sleepy Hollow Farm, owned by Rosser Edward Bryant; Tommy Vaughan Farm &uot;Little Tommy’s,&uot; owned by Hunter Darden III; Vicks Plantation, owned by Grayson Owen and George Owen; Westbrook Home Place, owned by Susan J. Gillette and Carolyn J. Beale; and Westbrook River Farm, owned by Sidney Bruce Phillips and India Westbrook Phillips.