AUSTIN – Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is encouraging families to apply for the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Family Land Heritage program. The program recognizes and celebrates farms and ranches that have been in continuous agricultural production by the same family for at least 100 years or more.

“Texas has a rich heritage of land ownership and stewardship,” Commissioner Staples said. “Patriots fought hard for our land, and generation after generation endured many hardships to ensure the soil stayed in the family. It is my privilege to honor these special Texans who understand agriculture is not a career, it’s a calling.”

Applications, which are due Sept. 15, will be accepted for farms or ranches established in 1909 or earlier that are still owned and operated by the descendants of the founder, either through blood, marriage or adoption. The land must also fit the U.S. Census definition of a farm: 10 acres or more with agricultural sales of $50 or more a year; or if fewer than 10 acres, sales of at least $250 a year.

The owners must reside in Texas and actively manage the everyday operation of the farm or ranch. If all the land has ever been rented or leased to someone outside of the family, it will not qualify. If only a portion was leased, and as much as 10 acres were retained in the family for agricultural production with sales of at least $50 annually, the property will still qualify. There is no cost to apply for the recognition.

The application can be downloaded at by clicking on the Family Land Heritage link. For more information or to have an application mailed to you, contact Lance Williams at (512) 463-3285 or