Four Farms in Greene County Honored with Century Farm Status Sept. 13 Including One Founded in 1839

  • Published: Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021

Four family farms in Greene County were honored with Century Farm status on Sept. 13 at the Greene County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting held at the Sac River Event Center west of Springfield. 

Farm owners were presented with an official fence sign and certificate from the University of Missouri and official proclamations from Greene County presented by Commissioners Bob Dixon and John Russell.

According to David Burton, county engagement specialist with University of Missouri Extension, the recognized farms were founded in 1839, 1859, and 1920.

"We applaud the hard-working farm families that have kept us fed and clothed for generations. They are an important part of our heritage, and these farms laid a foundation for the bounty Americans enjoy every day," said Burton. "For that, we say thank you."

HONORED FARMS

Killingsworth Family
Owner: Lonnie Killingsworth, Walnut Grove.
Started by: James Killingsworth, 3rd great grandfather son
Acres: 40
Founded: 1839    

Around 1838, four families of Killingsworth's came to Missouri from Knox County, Tennessee. William Killingsworth and his wife, Matilda McClure Killingsworth, settled in Boone Township Greene County. William's oldest son James, acquired the present 40 acres of land on July 6, 1839, for $49.20 from the government. William and his sons by 1876 owned 680 acres. Today, 180 acres of that remains with one of six families that are descended from William Killingsworth.

Williamson Heritage Farm & Apiary    
Owned by Laura Lee Nickle, Springfield
Started by: John Gately, Great-great-great-great-grandfather
Acres: 40
Founded in: 1859    

This farm is located near Chrystal Cave. The original land grant – which the family still has in its possession -- was signed by President James Buchanan. "It probably made my ancestors proud to pass this treasure on to future generations. It makes me proud to have received it. It's my job to be the link in the chain that has tended this price of Earth that provides so much for my community — beef, milk, berries, honey, and trees. That is very humbling," said Laura.

Carr Stock Farm
Owned by Wanda & Charles Bumgarner, Springfield
Started by: Charles W. and Sylvia E. Carr
Acres: 220
Founded in 1920

Six generations of the Carr family have lived on and farmed 220 acres in Greene County north of Springfield. Initially founded as a stock farm where 1,000 to 2,000 hogs were raised and sold annually during the 1930s, Carr Stock Farm now focuses on raising Angus cattle and hay production. The Angus herd originated in the 1950s as a result of Wilma Jean Carr's 4-H beef project. 

John & David O'Dell Farm
Owned by John O'Dell and David O'Dell, Fair Grove    
Started by: Guston O'Dell, grandfather
Acres: 201
Founded in 1920

Their grandfather moved here from Tazwell, Tenn., the foothills of the Cumberland mountains. Growing up, David and John helped their grandpa on the farm. They recently told me that it was their father's wish and theirs for this farm to become a century farm.

"Family farms have been among our most vital partners since the founding of MU Extension more than 100 years ago. The century farm program is one way we express our gratitude to those who have contributed so much to Missouri agriculture," said Burton.

BY THE NUMBERS

In 1976, Missouri's Centennial Farm project awarded certificates to persons owning farms that had been in the same family for 100 years or more. 

The University of Missouri's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and MU Extension planned a 10-year update in 1986 called the Century Farm program. 

Since then, the program has been an annual event. In 2008, the Missouri Farm Bureau became a program co-sponsor. 

Since Missouri began the Century Farm program in 1976, more than 8,800-century farms have been recognized during that time.

Statewide in 2021, MU Extension has recorded 231 new Century Farms in 81 counties.

"In Greene County, we can still boast of 130 recognized Century Farms that are still in the same family and active in our local agriculture economy," said Burton.

CENTURY FARM PROGRAM

The Missouri Century Farm Program annually recognizes Missouri farms that are still productive and have been in the same family for 100 years or more. 

To qualify for the Missouri Century Farm designation, farms must have been family-owned for 100 years or more and have at least 40 acres of the original land still making a financial contribution to the farm income. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews or nieces, through marriage or adoption.

To learn more about the Missouri Century Farm program call the Greene County Extension Center at (417) 881-8909 or go online to http://extension.missouri.edu/centuryfarm.
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Writer: David Burton

Media Contact

David Burton
417/881-8909

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