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September 27, 2000

Farm Progress Show Site Designated State's First Sesquicentennial Farm

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today recognized the George Power farm near Cantrall, not only for its place in history as host of the 2000 Farm Progress Show, but also for its ties to Illinois agricultural history.

Ryan designated the farm as the state's first Sesquicentennial Farm.

"It is important that we celebrate the rich agricultural heritage that we have in Illinois and the important role that our farm families have played in the continued growth of our state," Ryan said. "I was proud to sign the Sesquicentennial Farm legislation this spring to bring attention to farm families that have continued an agricultural tradition on the same farmland for 150 years or more."

The Sesquicentennial Farms Program recognizes farms that have been held by descendants of the same family for 150 years or more. A similar program for Centennial Farms has been in effect since 1972. Since then, more than 7,400 Illinois farms have been designated Centennial Farms. Qualifying farms are presented with a sign noting that the farm is either a Centennial Farm or Sesquicentennial Farm.

Governor Ryan and Illinois Agriculture Director Joe Hampton presented the first Sesquicentennial Farm sign in the state to Harry Estill and Reilly Power, the great-great-grandsons of George Power.

"Illinois farmers are proud stewards of the land that they keep, and they take great pride in the Centennial Farm and Sesquicentennial Farm designations," Hampton said."When you consider that nearly ten percent of our 79,000 farms in Illinois have stayed with the same family for more than 100 years, it speaks of the importance of the family farm in our state."

The presentation was made in front of the original farm home of George Power which was built in 1821. Power was a justice of the peace who presided over Abraham Lincoln's first trial in 1836. The trial, in which Lincoln defended a man who shot his neighbor's dog, was held in Power's home.


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