Randolph farm a finalist for award

CHARLESTON — A Tygart Valley farm specializing in grass-fed Black Angus steers is competing to be named the 2018 West Virginia Conservation Farm of the Year.

Every year, one farm in the state receives the Conservation Farm of the Year honor after winning at the county, district and area levels. Each finalist has demonstrated a commitment to conservation practices that protect soil, streams, water, grasses, wildlife and other resources. Nine judges toured each farm and ranked the farmers on their use of best management practices, impact on ecological systems, community-based activities and more.

The winner among the three finalists will be named at the Oct. 16 West Virginia Conservation Partnership Conference Luncheon in Flatwoods. The winner will take home $1,000, a sign to display at their farm and 200 hours use of a new John Deere tractor from Middletown Tractor Sales.

Ward Grass Cattle, LLC, Mill Creek

James W. “Jay” Wallace operates Ward Grass Cattle, LLC, in a flat, wide swath of farmland along the Tygart River in Randolph County. The 275-acre farm specializes in a seasonal herd of grass-fed Black Angus steers. Its location in the Tygart Valley allows the cattle to enjoy abundant access to water.

Conservation practices implemented on the farm include a portable tent that offers 600 square feet of shade to the steers during hot summer days. The farm features seven temporary livestock watering areas prepared for heavy usage, as well as permanent watering troughs. A total of 15,000 feet of 2-inch water distribution pipeline transports the water to points where the cattle drink.

The property also includes 10 culverted stream crossings and one low-water, all-weather stream crossing that’s designed according to acceptable U.S. Department of Agriculture standards.

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