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News Release

Monroe County farm takes top conservation honor, Brooke and Pendleton Counties also rank

Contact:
Rebecca Haddix
304-284-7545


News Release # 17-055

SUTTON, W.Va. – Winners of the 2017 West Virginia Conservation Farm of the Year were recently announced at the West Virginia Conservation Partnership Conference in Flatwoods. Top honors went to Little Brown Cow Dairy Farm, second place went to Family Roots Farm, while Carr Farm took third.  

Little Brown Cow Dairy Farm, a certified organic grass-based dairy in Hans Creak Valley of Monroe County, is owned and operated by Aaron and Tara Helmick. The Helmicks have been in business since 2010 and occupy approximately 425 acres of leased or owned land. They milk approximately 150 Jersey crossed cows.

From the beginning, the Helmicks have paid attention to the overall environmental health of the property while striving to maximize productivity and profitability. Each decision they make is based on these principles.

With the help of the Greenbrier Valley Conservation District (GVCD), the West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Helmicks have participated in various cost-share programs implementing conservation practices such as exclusion fencing, pipeline and water troughs, nutrient management, cover crops and riparian buffers.

Aaron and Tara have three children, Andrew, Lainey and Graham. Little Brown Cow Dairy Farm will receive a $1,000 check, a plaque and 200 hours use of a John Deere tractor from Middletown Tractor Sales in Fairmont.

Family Roots Farm is a seven-generation diversified crop, poultry and maple syrup operation located outside of Wellsburg in Brooke County. It is owned and operated by Fred and Cathy Hervey and is operated by their daughter and son-in-law, Charlie and Britney Hervey-Farris. The farming operation was established by Charlie and Britney in 2012. It started out with one acre of sweet corn and 100 tapped maple trees. Since then, they have expanded to include 1,000 taps for maple production, eight acres of various fruits and vegetables, two high tunnels, a pick-your-own strawberry patch, pasture poultry and pigs. Family Roots Farm works as a family and feels it is important to share the farm experience with others. Family Roots Farm is also recognized as a West Virginia Century Farm.  

Located in the Seneca Rocks area of Pendleton County, Carr Farm is a third-generation cow-calf and sheep operation. Owned and operated by Roy and Lois Carr, the farm includes 180 acres of owned land and 310 acres of rented property. The farm was established in the late 1800s and handed down through the Kisamore family. The Carr’s purchased the farm in 1993, and it remains a family operation today with Roy and Lois, their son Doug, his wife Joanie, and their children Tyler and Jamie.

 

Some of the conservation practices they’ve implemented on their farm include prescribed grazing, pasture and hayland planting, pasture division fence, critical area planting and forage harvest management.  The Carr’s are true stewards of the land and enjoy extending their hospitality and love of agriculture with all who visit their farm.

 “All three of the farms exemplify the best in conservation practices, and the competition was very close,” said West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Kent Leonhardt. “The fact that three diverse farms were so close speaks well of the conservation programs being implemented in the state of West Virginia and speaks to the unity that’s developing in our state. It’s a real privilege for me to be the commissioner of agriculture and the chairman of the state conservation committee because such great things in conservation are happening in our state.”

The West Virginia Conservation Awards Council honored this year’s recipients at an awards luncheon during the West Virginia Conservation Partnership Conference in Flatwoods.

To be in the running for West Virginia Conservation Farm of the Year, each farm first had to win at the County, District and Area levels. A panel of judges consisting of Commissioner Leonhardt and officials from WVCA, NRCS, Farm Service Agency, State Conservation Committee, West Virginia Division of Forestry, West Virginia University Extension Service, and WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture Natural Resources and Design, toured each farm over the summer and ranked them based on the implementation of conservation plans and community-based services.