The Upper Ohio Conservation District is home to this year's second place winner of the West Virginia Conservation Farm of the Year contest-Long Creek Farm. Since purchasing the farm, Steve Zechman and his wife Linda Jensen have worked diligently to restore the farm to working condition and it shows in the land.
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass presented the Zechmans with an award plaque and a $500 check on Jan. 9 at the West Virginia Conservation Awards and Recognition Conference.
Long Creek Farm is comprised of approximately 250 acres, of which 62 acres is in hay, 30 in pasture, with the remaining balance in woodland. The farm is primarily a cow/calf and fresh market produce operation, with 41 head of beef cattle including 13 calves, 28 cows and yearlings, and one bull.
Long Creek Farm in Tyler County won second place in the West Virginia Conservation Farm of the Year contest. Pictured from left are Louis Aspey, acting state conservationist, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service; Gary Sawyers, president, West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts; Steve Zechman, owner, Long Creek Farm; Linda Jensen, owner, Long Creek Farm; Gus R. Douglass, commissioner, West Virginia Department of Agriculture; Alfred Lewis, state executive director, USDA-Farm Service Agency; Paul Lewis, assistant director, Outreach and Community Affairs of the West Virginia Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
The Zechmans have installed and implemented multiple best management practices on their farm. These include nutrient management plans, rotational grazing, and 9,200 feet of exclusion fencing. They have also had regular soil tests as part of the Upper Ohio Conservation Districts Lime Incentive Program.
Commissioner Douglass awarded the first place plaque and a $1,000 check to B&G Orchards of Berkeley County. B&G Orchards also won 200 hours or four months use of a new John Deere Tractor from Middletown Tractor Sales in Fairmont, W.Va. Stone Meadow Cattle, owned and operated by Dr. John Tomlinson, in Greenbrier County came in third place and received a plaque and a $500 check.
The West Virginia Conservation Farm of the Year competition occurred successively on four levels: county, conservation district, area, and state. The judges for the West Virginia Conservation Farm of the Year competition were representatives of the following agencies: West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts; West Virginia Conservation Agency; West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection; West Virginia Department of Agriculture; West Virginia Division of Forestry; West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Sciences; WVU Extension Services; USDA Farm Service Agency; and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The original date for the 2012 West Virginia Conservation Awards and Recognition Conference was Oct. 29-30 at the Charleston Town Center Marriott. However, due to the inclement weather from Hurricane Sandy the conference was postponed until Jan. 8-9.