Three “Century Pioneer” Florida Family Farms Recognized

Dan Florida, General

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner
Charles H. Bronson today announced that three Florida properties are being
designated as Century Pioneer Family Farms. Recognition in the program
means the families have maintained continuous ownership of the property for
at least 100 years.

The families whose properties are being recognized are Claude and Sandra
Starling, Donald and Margaret Hurst, and Dianne Priest Joyner.

“These families have been able to retain ownership of their land through the
Great Depression, diseases, droughts, freezes and the urbanization of
Florida,” Bronson said. “That is a great tribute to the many generations of
these families.”

Originally, the Starling’s 40-acre farm in Suwannee County was used for row
crops such as corn, peanuts and tobacco, and is currently used for mainly
hay production for the cattle raised there.

The 80-acre Hurst farm in Lafayette County was used for peanuts and tobacco
production and is now used for straw production under the forestry trees
being raised there. The family has an original homesteading letter from
President Benjamin Harrison to one of the family’s ancestors.

The Priest Joyner 200-acre property in Levy County was originally in
watermelon and peanut production and now is used for a cow/calf operation.

Since the program began 27 years ago, 157 family farms have received the
Century Pioneer Farm designation. The program is administered by the
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

For more information about the program or to apply for membership, visit or contact
Richard Gunnels at or (850) 488-3022.