•December 6, 2017•
By Ellen Ferrera
for the News Progress
When the first settlers arrived in central Illinois, they were greeted by waves of tall prairie grass as far as the eye could see, vast herds of bison and native Indians.
The Kickapoo Indians were among the first settlers, and they were skilled hunters and farmers – the latter skill they taught to the first white settlers.
Today the prairie grass is gone, the nearly 60 million bison hunted close to extinction and the Indians driven out by the military by 1834. But the land-the land remains and has been handed down from generation to generation since about 1815 in Moultrie County.
In 1972 the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) began setting up programs to honor these heritage farms and the contribution agriculture has made to the state.
Centennial farms are those that have been in the same family for 100 years. Sesquicentennial farms (150 years) are the second program, and in 2016 the Bi-Centennial program to honor 200- year- old farms in the same family was instituted.
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