St. Clair County is home to 15 of the 600 farms in the Illinois Sesquicentennial Farms Program. Sesquicentennial farms are those that have been alive and in the same family for at least 150 years.

To join the program, one must complete an application proving that the farm has been in the family continuously for at least 150 years. A $50 fee is also required, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

A new member of the group is the Rehberger farm. Rehberger sits on 369 acres of land just a few miles south of Lebanon. Currently, the farm is being run by the fifth generation of the family, Rebecca Rehberger. Her son, Preston Rehberger Knobeloch, will represent the sixth generation when he gets to take over the farm, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.

On Sunday, a group of Rehbergers gathered at the farm to celebrate its admittance to the 150th list.

Cousin Mary Edwards told the Belleville News-Democrat that Andre Rehberger bought the farm in 1862. He had come over from Darmstadt in Germany. He worked on other farms until he could buy his own. He raised horses and grains that could feed horses: oats, wheat, timothy hay, Edwards said to the Belleville News-Democrat.

Over the years, the farm has seen many different leaders and farming changes, but the Rehberger’s have held onto the farm despite all the changes. Also, the original horse barn, which was built in 1862, is still standing, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

Edwards put together the application for the farm and gathered the necessary proofs of deeds and other items. With the proof and application, the family earned a large metal sesquicentennial farm sign at the farm where the centennial farm sign used to hang.

The counties that comprise the metro-east have more than 60 sesquicentennial farms. Besides St. Clair’s 15, Randolph County has 15, Washington County has 10, Monroe has eight, Madison has five, Clinton has four and Jersey has four.

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