The Illinois Department of Agriculture has granted the historical distinction of Centennial Farm to the agricultural property owned by CropLife America CEO Jay Vroom. Originally purchased by Vroom’s great grandfather, Sanford M. Stiles, in 1897, Vroom has owned the Bureau County farm located north of Princeton, Illinois, since 1994. Properties with the Centennial Farm designation must have been owned by a straight or collateral line of descendants for at least 100 years.
“I am privileged to present this distinction to the Vroom family,” said Agriculture Director Philip Nelson in a press release issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. “This designation not only honors their farm operation today, but also their ancestors who labored through adversity to maintain the family farm. The Centennial Farm program helps to reinforce that family farming remains a viable entity in Illinois agriculture.”
Since the early 1970s, the Illinois Centennial Farm program has recognized more than 9,400 farms. Each county in Illinois has at least one Centennial Farm, with more than 200 in Champaign County. To receive the designation, farm owners must submit an application to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Recipients of the distinction receive outdoor display signage and a certificate signed by the governor and director of agriculture and are recognized at Agriculture Day at the Illinois State Fair.
“On behalf of my family and ancestors, I am honored to receive this designation for the farm on which I grew up,” stated Vroom. “Family farms are a part of the foundation of our country and continue to be an integral part our economy. It is important that we recognize how hard family farmers have worked to keep our society going, and we must support their efforts to become more efficient and environmentally sustainable for generations to come,” he noted. "While my 'day job' in agriculture keeps me in Washington, D.C., I am proud that my cousins Evan and Lynn Hultine keep my Bureau County farms in production."