Farm & Livestock

Farm & Livestock

WVDA Offers Tips in Lieu of Hay Shortage

The Free Press WV

Due to recent concerns of a potential hay shortage in West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and WVU Extension Services are offering cattle farmers tips on how to maintain a healthy herd.

“Odds are we still have six weeks left of winter, if not more. With being halfway through the winter feed season, farmers must take stock if they have enough hay to keep a well-fed and healthy herd,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “If hay is in short supply, farmers will want to avoid turning cattle out too early as it could have affects on pasture feeding for next summer.”

A potential hay shortage is most likely due to an unusually wet 2018. The increased rainfall lead to ruined and reduced hay crops. The WVDA is working with FSA county offices and WVU County Extension agents to help farmers locate hay supplies or work through alternative feeding methods.

“Producers seeking hay or those selling hay are encouraged to contact their Farm Service Agency county office, located within their local USDA Service Center,” said FSA State Executive Director Roger Dahmer. “These lists are available to the public and can help connect sellers, buyers and those in need.”

The WVDA, FSA and WVU Extension Services are offering the following tips:

  • Inventory the hay supply on hand and compare it to feed demand. Cattle prefer to eat about 2.5% of their body weight in hay dry matter. That is about 28 lbs. of air-dry hay per 1000 lbs. body weight.

  • Locate available hay, straw or corn fodder for purchase. This could mean trucking in feed from other states. Hay is generally the least costly feed for beef cattle.

  • Consider limiting the hay to the animal’s nutritional requirement. But be careful in doing so as cows need to be in a body condition score of 5 or 6 at calving, if they are to conceive the next calf on time.

  • Keeping the body condition up on cows in cold weather helps reduce feed demand for maintaining body heat. Fat provides insulation from the cold and helps reduce shivering.

  • Alternative sources of feed are soybean hull pellets, wheat midds, whole cotton seed or cotton seed hulls. These fibers are high in protein and should be available in West Virginia depending on your location in the state.

  • Other good sources of protein include dry distiller’s grain, corn gluten feed or soybean. These feeds provide good energy without any starch that would limit the digestibility of hay.

  • Corn is often the go-to feed when hay supply is limited. However, corn is high in starch. If adequate protein is not mixed with the corn, this ends up reducing the digestibility of fiber in hay. A 14 percent crude protein feed made from commodity by-products without any corn (limiting the starch) is another good option.

“Farmers need to wait to turn out their herds until around April 15 in low elevations and May 10 in higher evaluations. Proper planning and working with your fellow farmers are ways to keep the heard healthy until that time,” Leonhardt said.

To locate your local county FSA office: 

DNR seeks wildlife paintings for 2020 calendar

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is requesting original color wildlife paintings for the 2020 edition of the award-winning West Virginia Wildlife Calendar, according to DNR Wildlife Resources Section Chief Paul Johansen.

The deadline for submitting artwork is February 15, 2019.

Paintings may depict popular game and fish species or feature the state’s other wildlife such as snakes, frogs, turtles, salamanders, bats, songbirds, small mammals and nongame fish.

“This calendar offers a wonderful opportunity for artists to feature their work,“ said Johansen. “Besides distribution in West Virginia, our calendars are enjoyed by people all over the United States.“

An electronic image of each entry capable of being sized at 14½ inches wide by 11½ inches high at 300 dpi is preferred, although a high-quality print will be accepted. Artists may send in multiple entries.

Artists are reminded that the calendar format is horizontal, with measurements of 14 inches wide by 11 inches high, and they should keep this ratio in mind when creating paintings.

Paintings not chosen in previous years may be resubmitted. “Just because the artwork is not selected one year doesn’t mean it will not be selected in the future,“ said Johansen. “Often, there are several submissions of a particular species, and only one can be used in a given year.“

All artists, especially those from West Virginia, are encouraged to submit their work. A $200 prize is awarded for each painting chosen, with $500 going to the artist whose artwork is picked for the cover. Paintings are chosen based on overall composition and quality, along with anatomical and contextual accuracy. The quality of the electronic image or submitted print is very important for judging the artwork.

To obtain 2020 calendar art rules or to purchase a 2019 calendar, please contact the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Wildlife Calendar Art, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV 26241, phone 304.637.0245. Electronic images should be emailed to:  ‘’.

USDA Farm Service Agency Announces Program Deadline Extensions

The Free Press WV

Below are updated deadlines:

Farm Programs

  • Market Facilitation Program
    • Deadline to apply extended to February 14, 2019
  • Marketing Assistance Loans

    • If loan matured in December 2018, settlement date extended to February 14, 2019
    • Peanut loans or Loan Deficiency Payments - loan availability date now February 28, 2019
  • Emergency Conservation Program

    • Performance reporting due February 14, 2019
  • Livestock Forage Disaster

    • 2018 application for payment due February 28, 2019
  • Emergency Assistance Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program

    • Notice of loss due February 14, 2019
  • Livestock Indemnity Program

    • Notice of loss due February 14, 2019
  • Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

    • Submitting 2019 application for coverage due February 14, 2019
    • Notice of loss for 72-hour harvest and grazing (as applicable) due February 14, 2019
    • Notice of loss for prevented planting and failed acres due February 14, 2019
    • Applications for payment for 2018 covered losses due February 14, 2019
  • Tree Assistance Program

    • Notice of loss due February 14, 2019
  • Acreage Reporting

    • January reporting deadlines extended to February 14, 2019

For inquiries related to these programs or any not listed above, please contact your local USDA Service Center.


The Free Press WV

The State of West Virginia is indebted to the generations of farm families who have maintained farms throughout the centuries following original agricultural enterprises. A major portion of our current culture, traditions, and values stems from agricultural heritage.

The West Virginia Century Farm Program is designed to recognize those families who have been farming the same tract of land for at least 100 years. Century Farms, Sesquicentennial Farms and Bicentennial Farms will be recognized. A Century Farm is one that has been in continuous operation by the same family for at least 100 years. A Sesquicentennial Farm has been in continuous operation by the same family for at least 150 years, and a Bicentennial Farm has been in continuous operation by the same family for at least 200 years. To honor those families who have continuously farmed the same tracts of land for at least one hundred years, the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts has initiated the West Virginia Century Farm Program. To qualify as a Century Farm: (1) The same family must have had ownership (title to the land) for a minimum of 100 years to be designated a Century Farm, 150 years to be designated a Sesquicentennial Farm, or 200 years to be designated a Bicentennial Farm. Leasing or sharecropping does not qualify for ownership. (2) the farm must consist of at least ten acres of the original land holdings, (3) the farm must gross at least $1,000.00 annually from farm products, and (4) a family member must live on the farm or be an integral part of the day-to-day operation of the farm enterprise. Line of ownership from the first family member owning the land may be through wives, husbands, children, brothers, sisters, nephews, or nieces.

Those agricultural operations selected as Century Farms within the West Fork Conservation District will receive an outdoor sign to display on their farm along with a presentation at our annual awards banquet.

Application forms for the West Virginia Century Farm Program are available at the West Fork Conservation District, 87 Ollie Lane, Suite 102, Mount Clare, WV 26408, or may be downloaded at in the WVCAD contests & programs link under the education tab. The deadline to submit applications is February 02, 2019.

Please call the WFCD office at 304.627.2160 with any questions.

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