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Farm & Livestock

Farm & Livestock

The ‘Farmer’ Barbie Doll

The Free Press WV

Recently, a friend posted on a face book that there is a Farmer Barbie Doll. It was easy to see they didn’t use me as the model. No matter how hard I try, my hair will never bounce like that. My coveralls and sweatshirts are leftovers from our growing farm children. I am pretty good at not wearing competing implement or seed dealer apparel at the same time.

With a bit more research, I discovered ‘Barbie’ has a lot of agriculture related items. Interesting… But when you think about it, all Barbies ever designed encompasses the many different roles of a farm wife/farmer.

Almost every farmer’s wife is a farmer in some way. It may not be verbalized aloud in the wedding vows, but when you marry a farmer, the livestock and the dirt comes right along with him, so to speak.

All rural church pastors know very few farmers, male or female, will be able to attend meetings planned during certain weeks of the year. They’ll be busy in the tractor, planting or harvesting or out in the barn feeding hungry mouths that will later feed other hungry stomachs.

The pastor could ‘skype’ his meeting, but there would be a lot of interruptions from the buzzing of monitors to the loud bawling of a newborn calf.

It’s a good thing Barbie is so versatile, because that is how we farm women need to be.

The athletic Barbie comes in handy every day as we juggle time and energy to get the work done. The tennis racket might be replaced with a pitchfork, and instead of a cute little convertible, we find ourselves at home in a tractor cab. The only thing that doesn’t change is the happy smile, right?

Surely, those chore clothes are definitely needed. Rarely is the work around livestock the job of one person. It helps to have a set of extra hands, especially when trucks of baby chicks or turkey poults arrive. Or when sows are farrowing, calves need weaning and the goats are out and the windrower is stuck in the waterway. And sometimes, all of these events occur simultaneously.

Nurse Barbie comes in pretty handy when that occasional nasty bug hits the farmhouse. A tender touch and calm mind are important when there’s a broken bone or other major health issue.

Somewhere in time, there had to be an Office Barbie. Someone to make sure the bills get paid, bookwork done for taxes and regulation paperwork done. The level of her involvement varies from farm to farm, but those office management skills come in handy.

Chef Barbie is any easy one – our cooking skills are born of necessity and perfected thanks to all the experience that comes from feeding a hungry, hardworking family several meals every day.

It’s no wonder we (I) don’t exactly look like the Model Barbie.

Grandma Barbie is a special one. Our eyes really do sparkle when those little ones come to visit. Thankfully, the Barbie designers remembered that sometime we do need a little sleep and even made a Sleepy-time Barbie. It’s always a debate as to who really needs the nap.

Ah yes, the Dress-Up Barbie. Is there any woman who doesn’t like the splendor of a night out with her favorite farmer? The glamour of exchanging blue jeans for a special dress, heels and jewelry. Yes, we do clean up quite well.

I think the creators of the various Barbie dolls may have had farm wives in mind all along. We farmwomen are a diverse group, yet we have many similarities, especially when it comes to doing the best we can, no matter what fashion describes us at the time. Even when it is multiple roles in the same day.

If Barbie’s creators look to farmwomen, there will never be a shortage of inspiration for the next model.

Renae Vander Schaaf - This was written in honor of the many farmwomen, past and present, that I admire so much and inspire me in many ways.

 

Century Farm - Gilmer County

Congratulations Gilmer County Century Farm Honorees.

It was a very exciting night at the Doddridge County Park in West Union, when Gilmer County, WV was honored to have a Century Farm, owned by Barry and Karen Lay.

The Free Press WV
(L-R) Teddy Fitzwater, Alex Lay Sears, Karen and Barry Lay, owners of the Century Farm,
Jane Collins and Larry Sponaugle, Conservation Supervisors for Gilmer County


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.

A Century Farm is one that has been in continuous operation by the same family for 100 years or more.

A family member must live on the farm or be an integral part of the day-to-day operation of the farm enterprise.

The farm must consist of at least 10 acres of the original holdings and gross more than $1,000 annually from farm products.

Glenville: Gilmer County Farmers’ Market - Today

The Free Press WV

The Gilmer County Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Gilmer County Senior Citizens pavilion in Glenville, WV.

Lots of vendors are set up with plants and some vegetables are now available,  baked goods, honey, jelly and jams, fresh farm eggs, and much more.

Come out and see what our Farmers Market has to offer.

Kids’ Day at Gilmer county Farmers’ Market - Today

The Free Press WV

Report: U.S. Should Use Fewer Antibiotics in Agriculture

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON, WV – A new report calls for banning or restricting the use of antibiotics in farm animals to curb the global spread of infections.

Cameron Harsh, senior manager for organic and animal policy for he Center for Food Safety, explains continuously dosing animals creates stronger strains of bacteria, which makes antibiotics less effective at fighting infections in people.

He says the report is a wake-up call for policymakers to reform common factory farming practices.

“Producers can crowd animals, have higher stocking densities, and they’re getting animals to grow faster on less feed,” he points out. “So, in the long run, these have been misused as a tool to raise more meat and poultry products faster and more cheaply.“

According to the report, from the Britain-based Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, some 700,000 people die each year worldwide from antibiotic-resistant infections, and that number could rise to 10 million per year by 2050.

Industry groups say they’re using antibiotics to keep animals healthy, and maintain the practice is necessary to keep costs down.

Doctors report for the first time in the U.S, a patient has come in to receive care infected with a bacteria that’s resistant to every known antibiotic. Harsh and others see it as a possible result of livestock antibiotic use. He notes that making sure animals have good feed, can access the outdoors and have enough space to lie down helps boost their natural immune systems. And he says an increasing number of people are willing to pay more for drug-free meat, dairy and eggs.

“You’re seeing a lot of companies make strong statements about antibiotic use in their supplies, and make strong commitments to reduce use,” he points out. “But transparency is going to be an important step moving forward, so that consumers can make informed food decisions in the marketplace.“

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has introduced guidelines that would require farmers to get antibiotics from licensed veterinarians, instead of over the counter at the local feed store, and has asked drug makers to voluntarily remove growth-promotion claims from labels.

Harsh maintains those moves don’t go far enough.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

2016 West Fork CD AgEP Sign-Up Period

The Free Press WV

The intent of the Agricultural Enhancement Program (AgEP) is to provide a simple, user friendly program that promotes conservation of soil and water, while also increasing the value of the land by making it more sustainable and profitable. The first requirement to participate in the AgEP program is to become a cooperator with the Conservation District. Farmers and other agricultural producers can sign up or learn more about this program by visiting the West Fork Conservation District office in Mount Clare, WV.

PENDING AVAILABILITY OF STATE FUNDING, the sign up period for the FY17 Agricultural Enhancement Program will be during normal businesses hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. starting Monday, May 23, 2016 and ending Friday, June 17, 2016. The Agricultural Enhancement Program (AgEP) practices that will be cost-shared on this year are: Lime, Nutrient Management (Commercial Fertilizer), Pasture Division Fence, Watering Systems, Water Protection Exclusion Fence, and Woodland Exclusion Fence.

If you wish to apply for one of the above cost-share programs, please bring a farm map with applicable Farm and Tract numbers (available at your local Farm Service Agency office) with you during the sign up period. If you are applying for lime or fertilizer, you will also need to bring a current soil test (within the last 12 months). Feel free to call us with any questions about the Agricultural Enhancement Program at our office 304.627.2160.

Gilmer County Farm Bureau Good Will Dinner

Gilmer County Farm Bureau hosted their annual Good Will Dinner April 30, 2016 at the Gilmer County Recreation Center.

This year’s event was well attended.

The 2016 Good Will Recipient was Chester Sholes.

The Free Press WV


Chester has been an active Farm Bureau Member for 15 years.

You can always count on Chester to be the first person on the scene when there is work to be done.

Chester is a member of the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, A Veteran, board member on the Recreation Center, Lions Club member and has held a County Commission seat in the past.

Chester is retired from DuPont in Parkersburg with 30 years of service.

He enjoys country and blue grass music, garden and mows lots of grass in the summer.

Chester has two children, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

The Free Press WV


Everyone enjoyed spending the evening with Minnie Pearl portrayed by Denise Giardina of Charleston in a West Virginia Humanities Council History Alive!

It was a great evening.

Farm Bureau meets the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 at the Historic Society Building on Main Street.

Everyone is welcome.

Gilmer County Conservation Field Day for 6th Graders

Gilmer County held their Conservation Field Day for all sixth grade students on April 26, 2016 at Cedar Creek State Park.

This is a full day of learning for students, and afterwards the teachers will schedule follow-up activities and review with the students what they learned at Field Day.  They will then administer the Samara Exam, which measures the knowledge students have gained about the environment.  The top three students at each school receive a pin shaped like a samara (the winged seed of maple trees) and ribbons.

The Free Press WV


The students arrived at Field Day in buses and hit the ground running, ready for the activities!

Field day started and 9 am, breaking only for a sack lunch at noon.

This year we had a full lineup of exciting stations and outstanding Instructors (in parentheses):

    •  Recycling (Nedia Cyran)

    •  Forestry (Jesse King)

    •  Oil and Gas Environmental (Bob Radabaugh)

    •  Wildlife/Fur Bearers (Tom Snyder)

    •  Wildlife and Snakes (Jim Fregonara)

    •  Beekeeping (Bobbi Cotrill and Janice Bowling)

    •  Soils (Kelley Sponaugle)

    •  Navigation/Compass (Rick Sypolt)

All of the students received t-shirts, a lighted compass, a magnifying glass, bee straws, and pencils.

The students finished around 2:30 pm and boarded the buses back to school.

Even though the day had rain showers off-and-on there were no complaints from the students.  It is a day all the students look forward to, and we hope to continue with this educational program next year.

Thanks to the West Fork Conservation District, Jane Collins and Larry Sponaugle, Supervisors for Gilmer County for hosting this educational event.

Gilmer County FFA Ham Bacon and Egg Sale - Today

Gilmer County FFA will round up their Ham Bacon and Egg program with a Local Show and Sale
The Free Press WV

Glenville, WV —The Gilmer County FFA will hold a local Ham, Bacon, and Egg sale at the Gilmer County Recreation Center on Friday March 18th, 2016.

At the sale, FFA members will exhibit fresh farm eggs and fresh country cured and smoked hams and bacons. Since August, members of the Gilmer County FFA Chapter have been working Supervised Agricultural Experiences (a program where students apply what they learn in class by completing projects outside of class that are evaluated by their instructor) that are unique to this state and bring back some tradition and history for this area.

The ham, bacon, and egg program is where students raise hogs and cure the hams and bacons for show, while getting to keep the rest of the meat.

In addition, students who have chickens can enter eggs into the show.

At the show, the meat is evaluated, graded, and placed into a sale order for an auction, where in the past, members have sold eggs for $50-$100 per dozen, hams for $8-$25 per pound, and bacons for $15-$30 per pound, which goes to the FFA members to put back into their projects. Gilmer has been active in the past with eggs, however it has been a while since any members from Gilmer have cured hams and bacons.

Last year, two members raised pigs and the meat was cured at Doddridge County High School with the Doddridge County FFA who have been curing hams and bacons for a long time.

In addition, other members raised and showed eggs. This year there are four members who have cured ham and bacon products, with additional members raising eggs to show and sell as well. Gilmer County FFA members would like to thank the Doddridge County FFA for letting them use their facilities and helping them cure their products.

Last year, Gilmer members showed and sold products at the state sale, and then at the regional sale the next week. This year, members will show at the state show and sale in Charleston, WV on March 13th-14th, and then return home to start a new tradition of having a local sale at the Gilmer County Recreation Center on Friday March 18th at 7:00pm.

Hams and bacons are country cured and smoked products from pigs raised here in the county, with eggs being raised here in the county as well. There will be a buyer’s reception with refreshments and registration staring at 6:00pm with the sale beginning at 7:00pm. During the reception, members plan to work educational exhibits on curing as well as judging eggs.

If you cannot make the sale but would still like to bid on a product, Mr. Cox has bid sheets and can be contacted at 304.462.7960. The Gilmer County FFA would like to invite everyone to attend this special event to reward members for their hard work and to help them re-start a local tradition.

Gilmer County FFA Ham Bacon and Egg Sale

Gilmer County FFA will round up their Ham Bacon and Egg program with a Local Show and Sale
The Free Press WV

Glenville, WV —The Gilmer County FFA will hold a local Ham, Bacon, and Egg sale at the Gilmer County Recreation Center on Friday March 18th, 2016.

At the sale, FFA members will exhibit fresh farm eggs and fresh country cured and smoked hams and bacons. Since August, members of the Gilmer County FFA Chapter have been working Supervised Agricultural Experiences (a program where students apply what they learn in class by completing projects outside of class that are evaluated by their instructor) that are unique to this state and bring back some tradition and history for this area.

The ham, bacon, and egg program is where students raise hogs and cure the hams and bacons for show, while getting to keep the rest of the meat.

In addition, students who have chickens can enter eggs into the show.

At the show, the meat is evaluated, graded, and placed into a sale order for an auction, where in the past, members have sold eggs for $50-$100 per dozen, hams for $8-$25 per pound, and bacons for $15-$30 per pound, which goes to the FFA members to put back into their projects. Gilmer has been active in the past with eggs, however it has been a while since any members from Gilmer have cured hams and bacons.

Last year, two members raised pigs and the meat was cured at Doddridge County High School with the Doddridge County FFA who have been curing hams and bacons for a long time.

In addition, other members raised and showed eggs. This year there are four members who have cured ham and bacon products, with additional members raising eggs to show and sell as well. Gilmer County FFA members would like to thank the Doddridge County FFA for letting them use their facilities and helping them cure their products.

Last year, Gilmer members showed and sold products at the state sale, and then at the regional sale the next week. This year, members will show at the state show and sale in Charleston, WV on March 13th-14th, and then return home to start a new tradition of having a local sale at the Gilmer County Recreation Center on Friday March 18th at 7:00pm.

Hams and bacons are country cured and smoked products from pigs raised here in the county, with eggs being raised here in the county as well. There will be a buyer’s reception with refreshments and registration staring at 6:00pm with the sale beginning at 7:00pm. During the reception, members plan to work educational exhibits on curing as well as judging eggs.

If you cannot make the sale but would still like to bid on a product, Mr. Cox has bid sheets and can be contacted at 304.462.7960. The Gilmer County FFA would like to invite everyone to attend this special event to reward members for their hard work and to help them re-start a local tradition.

High Tunnel Educational Dinner

The Free Press WV

The Gilmer County Farm Bureau and the Wes-Mon-Ty Soil Conservation District sponsored an educational dinner meeting on Thursday, December 03, 2015 at the Gilmer County Recreation Center beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The topic presented was High Tunnels and was conducted by Joseph Hatton from USDA/NRCS office in Morgantown.
Does fresh vegetables ever come to mind when thinking about winter? No? High tunnels make winter gardens not only possible, but remarkably uncomplicated to manage.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV


Hatton, also an owner of a sustainable farm, helped interested Gilmer County residents understand what all is involved in high tunnel gardening.
“So the plants go in high tunnels, and I have one high tunnel,” Hatton said.
The high tunnel, at his farm consists of a frame and plastic covering. The covering keeps cold winds out, while letting the sun come in and nourish the many different crops.
“I grow some winter vegetables,” Hatton said. “Basically, you start them in September or a couple weeks before, and then if they are in a high tunnel structure … that’s enough protection that they do not freeze or really go through a cold spell.”

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV


Some crops are less delicate.
“Broccoli and cabbage will go through a couple frosts, and they are fine, but they can’t freeze. They do need some kind of protection over them,” he said.
Hatton said greens are a big part of the winter crops.
PVC pipes, clamps and plastic covers are all that is needed to make a low tunnel hoop house.
Hatton said West Virginia’s sun is strong, some winter days the plastic may need to be removed so the plants do not get too hot.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV


“You’re going to need a little bit of something else at night time,” he said. “The plastic is good to keep it warm when the sun is out, but it has no insulating properties when the sun goes down.”
If the garden is small enough, Hatton said a sheet can be thrown over the top to keep the plants warm at night.
“There’s a difference between cold-season crops and warm-season crops,” he said.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV


Warm-season crops are vegetables like eggplants and peppers, which originated south of the equator. Cold-season crops are mostly greens, originating north of the equator.
Hatton pointed out a lot of advantages about growing during the winter.
“West Virginia is just at the perfect climate for a high tunnel because we have sunny days that aren’t very cold,” he said.
Hatton added that he prefers winter farming because there is no excessive heat and very few fungal and insect problems.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV

West Virginia, Virginia Share in ‘AgrAbility’ Grants

The Free Press WV

RICHMOND, VA -  Land grant universities in West Virginia and Virginia are each receiving $189,000 in federal grants to assistant disabled growers and ranchers.

The funding announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is headed to West Virginia University and Virginia Tech under the “AgriAbility Program.“

Schools receiving the funding partner with nonprofit disability organizations that address the need of American farmers and ranchers with disabilities. Funded projects deliver new adaptive technologies and provide direct services.

The funding announced Wednesday was part of more than $4 million distributed nationwide.

West Fork Conservation District Supervisors Meeting – Thursday, 04.02.15 - Tomorrow

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The West Fork Conservation District Board of Supervisors monthly meeting will be held on Thursday, April 02, 2015, at the Steer Steakhouse, Weston, WV.

The meeting starts at 9:30 AM.

Please if you have questions contact Robin Ward, Administrative Officer for the West Fork Conservation District at 304.627.2160 x 113.

The West Fork Conservation District in West Virginia is comprised of the following four (4) counties located in the northern-central portion of the state:

•  Doddridge County
•  Gilmer County
•  Harrison County
•  Lewis County

USDA SEEKING 2016 FARM TO SCHOOL GRANT APPLICANTS

The Gilmer Free Press

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the USDA’s 2016 Farm To School grants.

Designed to increase the availability of local foods in eligible schools, these grants help new programs get started or can be used to expand existing efforts.

Four different kinds of grants are available:

•  Planning grants are for schools or districts just getting started on farm to school activities. They’re designed to help recipients organize and structure their efforts for maximum impact by incorporating best practices into early planning considerations.

•  Implementation grants are available for schools or school districts seeking to augment or expand existing farm to school efforts.

•  Support service grants are intended for non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers to evolve farm to school initiatives.

•  Additionally, all eligible entities can still apply for funds to support training and technical assistance, such as local procurement, food safety, culinary education and integration of agriculture-based curriculum.

Planning awards range from $20,000 - $45,000 and a 25% match of the total project cost is required. Implementation and support service awards range from $65,000 - $100,000 and a 25% match of the total project cost is required.

Training awards range from $15,000 - $50,000 and there is no match requirement.

Proposals for planning, implementation and support service grants are due no later than 11:59 PM EST, May 20, 2015.

Letters of intent for training grants are due by 11:59 PM EST, April 30, 2015.

To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a webinar related to the application process on March 25, 2015, 1:00 PM EST.

More information about the grant program, upcoming webinars relevant to applicants, and sample grant applications can be found online by Clicking H E R E.

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