Bumper crop of Century Farms reflects society

The 2019 Awards were to be held over two May evenings in the historic southern township of Lawrence, but due to COVID-19 the celebrations will now roll over to next year.

"These families have stayed the course for 100–50 years so we trust they can wait one more before receiving the Award," Karen Roughan, Century Farms Chairperson, says.

"The Committee knows how much this achievement means to the families. The coming together, meeting of likeminded people and visiting our historic town makes for a great weekend –we want to honour that."

The Awards programme aims to preserve important rural history through families submitting stories and documents, which are then archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Karen draws attention to the return of WWI soldiers circa 1919, and the fact that some had to contend with poorquality land and "backbreaking work".

Take William Henry (Harry) Dennison who, upon his return from war with a severe arm injury, purchased 160 acres of land at Hilderthorpe, Otago in 1919.  The farm had grown a succession of crops and was in bad shape, with poor fertility and a couch grass invasion. It ran mostly sheep and grew wheat and oats. In the 1930s, hens were introduced before pastoral farming became the mainstay in the 1960s.

Irrigation enabled growth of sheep, cattle, crops and in 2004, the farm broke a Guinness World Record for growing wheat –a far cry from the depleted land Harry bought in 1919.

Karen says neighbours and the younger family members have been helping the older generation in submitting their applications.

"There are heaps of stories but recording them relies on those with research and writing skills."

Farmlands is proud to be a Foundation Sponsor of the Century Farm Awards. 2020 applications are due by 30th November: www.centuryfarms.co.nz