Special to the Bulletin

AUSTIN — Three area families were among 78 farm and ranch families in 60 Texas counties honored last week at the 34th annual Family Land Heritage ceremony held in the House Chamber of the State Capitol.

The annual event recognizes families who have kept their farms and ranches in continuous agricultural production for more than 100 years.

Area families honored this year are Storey Farm and Ranch, founded in 1882, in Brown County; Toppy and Helen Jo Beaver Ranch, 1884, Coleman County; and Zoel G. Allen Farm, 1904, Comanche County.

“Today, these families are the breath of life for their ancestors’ dreams,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “The land they have nurtured, loved and cared for will forever be a part of the past, present and future of this great state.”

To date, TDA has recognized more than 4,300 properties in 235 counties across Texas. Fayette County has the most honorees to date with 145 recognized family operations. This is the first year the FLH program has recognized landowners in Parmer and Randall counties.

TDA honored one family ranch in Duval County for being in continuous agricultural production for 200 years. Ten other family operations were cited for 150 years of agricultural service in Austin, Burnet, Fannin, Guadalupe, Henderson, Hopkins, Mason, Navarro and Red River counties.

Gov. Rick Perry, a former agriculture commissioner himself, joined Staples at this year’s event to honor and thank the families for their amazing persistence and dedication to the land.

“There is nothing quite like the family farm or ranch, especially in Texas,” Perry said. “These places connect us to the land, to our heritage, and to God’s creation in a way that can be hard to explain, and we are grateful to count so many sons and daughters of the land in our state’s 24 million people. I congratulate all of today’s honorees for representing the most enduring values of our state and commend you for your longevity. Congratulations on your heritage and thank you for all you do to feed our state, our nation and our world.”

Cowboy poet and entertainer Red Steagall performed at the ceremony.

The complete list of FLH properties honored this year is available on the Web at www.TexasAgriculture.gov; click on the Family Land Heritage link.