Three families were recognized as Missouri Century Farm Families by the Webster County University of Missouri Extension Council on Thursday.
Prior to that, the council highlighted the Clark family, who was selected as the 2019 Webster County Missouri State Fair Farm Family by the Webster County Extension and local Farm Bureau. They were just one of the families honored during the Missouri Farm Family Day on Aug. 12, at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia.
"We had a blast at the state fair," said Kala Clark. "My family has poultry, rabbits and pigs. We don't have the biggest farm, but we’re working on establishing that. My siblings and I have been in 4-H for four years now. We're big into the poultry club and we got to be one of the poultry teams that went to nationals last year and we get to go again this year."
This year's Missouri Century Farm Families include the Cantrell Creek Angus Farm, the Ida Marie Fers Lovell Family Farm and the Burchfield Family Farm. While the Burchfield family couldn’t attend the event, Kyle Whittaker, county engagement specialist in Agriculture and Environment for the Webster County Extension Center, shared a few words about the farm, contributed by their daughter, Kathy Moss.
"William Robert Burchfield purchased the first six acres of his future farm in 1877," said Whittaker. "Little did he know, that farm would one day grow into 1,100 acres and be inhabited by four generations. In 1899, Robert purchased another 60 acres and began planning to move his family to the farm in St. Luke. He continued purchasing acres for the Burchfield Farm and also purchased the mill in Marshfield, calling it 'Burchfield Mill.' The mill was left to his two sons while another Ardon Burchfield was purchasing the adjoining land in St. Luke's. Robert and Ardon, as well as another son, named Jake, were known as outstanding beef cattlemen in Webster County. The Burchfield farm has always been used for beef cattle and hay production."
Robert died in 1958 and at that time Ardon inherited part of the farm owned by him. When Ardon died in 1962, Noel inherited just over 500 acres of the Burchfield farm and his brother, Willard, inherited the rest. The farm has a total of 1,100 acres until Willard died in 2010. At that time, Noel retired at the age of 81. He now leases his farm to local farmers for pasture and hay.
The next family farm was presented by Ida Lovell. According to Lovell, the farm has been around as long as she has. Her grandparents bought it in 1918 and at that time they came through in a covered wagon, so there was no highways. That all changed in 1923 when Route 66 appeared, which is right in front of her grandparents house.
"The old house was an old log house, which is barely still standing there," said Lovell. "There were several other outbuildings. They had cows and chickens. They had fruit and orchard, garden vegetables, along with selling cream and eggs to support the farm."
Lovell said her father lived there and helped them with it. After his father died, he took over the farm and worked there. When Lovell's father died, she inherited the farm and now has beef cattle on it.
"My brother helps me with the farm," said Lovell. "We have a hayfield and we produce hay and pasture. Hopefully, it continues to be a successful family operation."
The last Century Farm Family was the Cantrell family. While she isn’t a Cantrell, Matty Arthur, who noted she is currently dating a Cantrell, spoke on behalf of the family about the farm. Cantrell Creek Angus Farm, the farm along Cantrell Creek and High Prairie Township, part of Webster County, is currently owned and operated by Gary and Kim Cantrell, along with their sons, Travis and Trevor, as well as grandson Hunter (son of Travis). The farm is located within sections seven and eight of Township 30 in range 16. The Cantrell Farm begins with Gabriel Cantrell, Gary’s great-great-great grandfather. In 1824, he married Nancy Smith in McMen County, Tennessee. To this union, 14 children were born. Nancy (Smith) Cantrell is the daughter of Colonel Larking and Mary Eleanor (Hill) Smith of King and Queen County, Virginia. Col. Smith served in the American Revolutionary War and was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, also appointed by President Thomas Jefferson as customs collector in 1807. After the death of her husband in 1849, Nancy moved to Dave County, Missouri in 1853. Later in 1855, the family relocated to Webster County and High Prairie Township along Cantrell Creek.
"Nancy and her children were among the earliest settlers in this area of the county," said Arthur. "In fact, a land plat of 1882 describes the land as "swamp land," leaves one to believe that Cantrell family may be one of the first ones to ever own land along Cantrell Creek."
Charles McGinty Alexander Cantrell and Joseph Peelen "Joe" Cantrell were two of Nancy’s sons. Gary's father, Clarence Cantrell, was related to Nancy Cantrell on both his mother and fathers side through Charles. Clarence’s father was a grandson of Charles, while Clarence’s mother, Birdie, was a granddaughter of Joseph Cantrell (John’s daughter). Felix Gabriel Cantrell owned a few 100 acres, part of which makes up Cantrell Creek Angus today, according to Arthur, who explained more extensive history of the family throughout her presentation. As the sixth generation, Gary and Kim Cantrell are passing on their tradition and knowledge of the farm to their sons (seventh generation) and grandson (eighth generation).
"Today, Cantrell Creek Angus uses leading technology, focusing on genetics to deliver exceptional registered black Angus bulls and females," said Arthur. "All cattle are branded with Cantrell Creek freeze brand. Additionally, Cantrell Creek Angus is breeding cattle to perform pasture and on the rail."