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Centennial Farm Story

Five Generations of Farmers

We’re proud to power Mason Farm that dates to 1861

Farming has been in the Cheney family’s blood for five generations — and counting.

The 2,800-acre Mason farm that grows corn, soybeans and sunflowers has been home to a handful of Cheney families dating back to 1861.

Located in Ingham County, the Cheney farm is one of Michigan’s 676 certified sesquicentennial farms – owned by the same family for 150 years. There are about 7,000 registered centennial farms (100 years) and four of them are registered as bicentennial farms (200 years).

Dave Cheney, the farm’s current owner, is proud of his farming heritage and plans on passing the torch to his 29-year-old nephew Chris Nammack.

“I’ve never wanted to be anything else other than a farmer,” Cheney said.

Hooked at an Early Age

Cheney used his money to purchase a baler when he was in the eighth grade.

He baled hay and his father Richard paid for his work.

“I was hooked from the beginning,” the younger Cheney said. “I guess it was in my blood at an early age and never left.”

Cheney said his family, like many farmers in Mason, has a great relationship with Consumers Energy.

Our deep ties with the farming community go all the way back to Feb. 4, 1927, when we constructed a seven-mile electric line between Mason and Dansville to provide power to local farmers. Until then, the only farmers with electricity lived on the edge of the village.

Long, Proud Partnership

While the original Mason-Dansville line didn’t run through the Cheney farm, Dave Cheney said Consumers Energy has supported farmers over the years.

“It’s been a solid relationship,” he said. “And I look forward to building on it in the future.”

Additionally, farmers have had positive interactions with the Centennial Farm Program, which fulfills requests for signs to certify farms as centennial, sesquicentennial or bicentennial.

“Michigan farms are part of the bedrock of our economy as well as deeply ingrained in our culture and sense of place,” said Larry J. Wagenaar, executive director of the Historical Society of Michigan, which oversees the program. “The Centennial Farm Program is an outstanding opportunity for us to recognize farms and farm families that have stood the test of time.

“Having the support and partnership of the Consumers Energy Foundation has also been critical in the program’s success.”

Cheney is proud of the 150-year sign in front of his family’s farm.

“It’s something that I wanted to put up as a remembrance to all the hard work that took place here and what is taking place here today,” he said. “It’s a point of pride. A lot of people have had a hand in making this place successful. It’s a thank you to them.”

For more information on the ways we are helping the agricultural community click here.

To see how farmers can save energy and money with our energy efficiency support, click here.

To learn more about the centennial farm program click here.