Century Farm Family Recognition Award

Building a legacy.

Recognizing the hard work and sacrifice of our Century Farm Families.

The Municipal District of Taber was founded and settled by consistent hard work and sacrifice, combined with the unrelenting faith and determination of our ancestors. They settled the land to build the family farm or ranch – the place many of you continue to call home today.

Keeping the farm or ranch actively operating from generation to generation is an impressive achievement for any family. The Municipal District of Taber recognizes these special families who built the foundation of prairie farming and ranching. The contributions they have made to our agriculture sector are immeasurable. Their dedication to agriculture, family and our rural community has helped build a vibrant and sustainable agriculture industry in southern Alberta.

In 2022, the Municipal District of Taber launched the Century Farm Family Award to recognize farms and ranches going back 100 years and beyond. Successful applicants will be presented with a custom-made plaque/sign to mark this significant milestone. View the MD of Taber's 100-Year Farm Family Award Policy.

Call 403-223-8735
Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

There are two optional categories to apply for this award:

1) Heritage homestead farm family:

  • Your family has continuously owned and actively operated the same land for 100 years or more.
  • Kinship ties to the original homestead founder must be clearly explained through official documentation.
  • Date of homestead establishment must be provided through official documentation.
  • Copy of the land title must be provided, to show ownership.
  • A family member is still actively farming the land at the time of application.

2) Pioneer farm family:

  • Date of arrival into the Municipal District of Taber with official documentation.
  • Kinship ties to the original owner must be clearly explained through official documentation (i.e., family tree, genealogy).
  • A family member is still actively farming the land at the time of application.

What else to include:

  • A short history of the farm explaining how the farm originated to how the farm evolved to the present day will also be required.
  • Once it has been determined that the farm and family qualify, the family will be invited to attend a regular scheduled MD of Taber Agricultural Service Board meeting where the award will be presented to the family in recognition of their significant achievement. Pictures of the family will be taken and shared on our municipal website along with the short history of the family farm.

Award recipients

Isidore (Joe) Mancini came to Canada from Italy in 1904. The coal mines of Staffordville, which was annexed to the City of Lethbridge in 1913, provided him with employment. 

The Retlaw area was opened for settlement by the Dominion of Canada in 1908, with the advertising slogan "The Last Best West" to entice settlers. NE 24-13-18-W4 became Isidore's 160-acre allotment. Neither the Town of Retlaw nor the railway (CP Rail) was present at the meeting. A major irrigation project spearheaded by the Canada Land and Irrigation Company became a reality years later. This was short grass prairie country in its truest form — barren, dry and challenging. 

Isidore usually spent the winter working in the coalmines and returned to the farm in the spring when seasonal workers were laid off. Breaking sod, planting and harvesting crops, as well as making the necessary improvements to the property were all requirements for receiving a homestead title. He had "proved up" by 1913. 

In 1918, he persuaded Christina and Angelo Geremia, his daughter and son-in-law, to leave Montreal and move to the farm with him. Angelo secured employment with Retlaw's CP Rail Depot as a section hand for their rail lines. Continuing this until 1927, Joe (Isidore) felt that the west coast should be his next adventure. With everything appearing to be going well, Angelo intended to begin farming full-time. The 30s however, were years filled with disappointment and struggles; Retlaw was not spared the economic and environmental hardships this era was defined by. They stood steadfast. Before Angelo and Christina moved to Lethbridge to retire, a family of seven grew up on this farm. 

By 1958, Norman and Bertha Geremia had acquired the homestead's title, raised a family of four, and purchased adjacent parcels to grow the farm. Before this, Norman served overseas with the Calgary Highlanders Signal Core during World War II in the 30s, as his prospects on the farm seemed bleak. Upon his return in 1946, the area appeared to have been revitalized. 

David and Fran, the eldest son of Norman and Bertha, operated their farm until 1984. The original quarter and nearby holdings were purchased in 1992. Bertha lived on the homestead until 2015. David and Fran have a family of three sons, Travis (Janae) an engineer with St. Mary Irrigation District (SMRID), Laine an independent precision agrologist based in Lethbridge, and Bryden (Taylor), (daughter, Teagan) who is employed with the Bow River Irrigation District (BRID) and operates Dead Horse Coulee Farms. 

During the past 115 years and six generations, their families have lived and worked in these arid lands. Since that time, some dry land parcels have been converted to irrigation. Retlaw, its grain elevators, and the local rail lines have all changed over the years. There is only the "Big Ditch" (BRID canal), which was carved from the lands in the 1920s. 

"We have always been mindful of the experiences of the generations before us and those who worked so hard to keep this farm in the family. This land has required each generation to demonstrate self-reliance, fortitude, diligence, ecological sensitivity, and the ability to seize opportunities. As the farm's present custodians, we have learned to appreciate the land, working within its potential and confines. The 160 acres where prairie sod was first broken many years ago remain an integral part of our farm. And will continue to be so, as new generations take up the torch and find opportunity and promise on the Geremia Family Farm."

Division 6 Councillor, Murray Reynolds, present Geremia family members with the Century Farm Plaque.
Family members are, left to right, Janae, Travis, David, Fran, Laine, Taylor holding daughter Teagan, and Bryden.

Manager of Public Works and Infrastructure
Manager of Public Works and Infrastructure