One of the challenges for the popular Alberta Century Farm & Ranch Award program is authenticating historical ownership of land.
The award recognizes farm families that have continuously owned and actively farmed or ranched an original parcel of land for 100 years or more, said program co-ordinator Lillian Chan.
Chan has become very familiar with records distinguishing between homesteads, railway and Hudson Bay Company lands, designated school lands, and soldier settlements of days gone by.
“It’s harder to prove purchased lands because the purchase agreements were mostly based on handshakes,” she said.
But there is good news for 2016 applicants: 1916 was the government census year, so census records may be useful as a supporting document. A current land title is also required, and an ownership tree to show how the land was passed down.
Chan brings her own unique historical perspective to the program because she’s been with it from the beginning.
“Since the program began in 1993, close to 1,600 farm families have received the Century Farm Award,” she said. “The oldest century farm we’ve commemorated was settled in 1883, with the fifth generation still operating on the same land.”
Program information and application forms are available at agriculture.alberta.ca.