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Heritage Farms Program

​​During the Kentucky Bicentennial celebration in 1992, Kentucky started a Heritage Farm Program that recognized historic farms and ranches. This follows the 1980 passage of a law by the Kentucky Legislature, revised July 15, 1982, titled “Kentucky Register of Heritage Farms" (Ky. Rev. Stat. 171.388)  stating that to qualify, a farm must comprise at least 40 acres, shall have been owned by the same family at least 100 years, be an active farm, and contain a structure more than 50 years old. In addition to recognizing Centennial Farms, this program also recognizes Bicentennial Farms, continuously owned and farmed by a single family for more than 200 years.

Farms are certified through an application process by the Kentucky Heritage Council, the State Historic Preservation Office. For those who qualify, an official certificate is issued and signed by the Governor and State Historic Preservation Officer, and a Kentucky Historic ​Farm sign is presented to the owner or owners that they may display.

As things do, the farm program had became inactive in recent years with few applications.​ With the loss of so many family farms we wanted to put more emphasis and recognize those that continue to work to save the heritage of their families and the agricultural heritage of the Commonwealth. We worked to make sure that all the pieces were in place to relaunch the program before promoting it again. To that end, KHC and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture have re-launched the Hertage Farms Program - and we are proud to have recognized several farm families earlier this year, shown in photos here, who had previously submitted applications.

The Kentucky Heritage Council is now soliciting applications for 2023. Applications for the next round may be submitted any time through May 15, 2023. A recognition program will take place in August to present signs and certificates to those who qualify. Download the application​, or for additional information contact Kitty Dougoud, 502-892-3605.

Photos l-r: Betsy Kuster of Bourbon County, a long-time dedicated Kentucky Heritage Council member, with her farm sign and with it shown on the stone fence leading into her family property; the Danny and Betty McKinney Family of Rockcastle County, with their daughters making five generations of the family on their farm; ​James Groves of Todd County, pictured with Craig Potts, KHC Executive Director; and Brent Traughber, also of Todd County, on the farm he owns with his brother, Gary Traughber, ​shown with Craig and with Kitty Dougoud, KHC Site Identification Program Manager, who helped relaunch this program.