The Tygarts Valley Conservation District would like to proudly recognize its Farms of the year for 2022. Each year the district must choose between nominations of cooperators who have managed and developed plans of conservation on their farms. Farms are not always chosen on project sizes but the project’s innovation and creativity as well.
When you pull up to Skip Collett’s home in Randolph County, you are met with an open hand and a smile. His farm sits on a ridge overlooking the Upper Cheat River Valley. A light rain had preceded our morning visit. The sun was breaking through the clouds in spots, casting shadows on the mountain green. Skip Collet own 516 acres of this mountain paradise. He runs 20 head of cattle on pasture fields that he rotationally grazes. He has improved his perimeter and division fencing. The Collett farm is lucky to have plenty of water but making this water accessible to stock has been one of the farm’s projects. One unique project that Skip has done is create a habitat for the 38 Warbler species found in West Virginia. Congratulations to Skip Collett and his beautiful farm. His front porch wins first place of the year.
Matt and Mateal Poling along with their beautiful family are owners of Upshur County Farm of the year for 2022. The Polings seem to be on the cutting edge on everything Ag. High tunnels, forestry management, agrotourism, market lambs and goats and Bio-char are all fascets in the daily work of the Poling farm. Bio-char, according to Matt, can be charged with nutrients to improve fertility of the soil. He demonstrated his self-made charcoal maker. Using this method charging charcoal for fertility had found a rebirth in Ag. The Poling family gave us a tour of their high tunnel, handling pens, and my favorite, a table of homemade cookies. I have known this model family for many years. A farm life is a handful of responsibilities but one that can be rewarding. This family has found that working together on a common goal bond up even closer. Congratulations to the Polings, Upshur County Farm of the year for 2022.
Mitch Stemler is Barbour County’s 2022 Farm of the year and Tygarts Valley Conservation District Farm of the year for 2022. Mitch and Cathy Stemler own and lease 400 acres on the Tygart River. Mitch runs a farm to plate business called Daystar Farm. Mitch raises high quality vegetables, eggs, honey, pork, beef and chickens on his farm to sell directly to the consumer. To keep up with his business food demands, the Stemler’s have had to improve their farm’s productivity. High tunnels, access roads, 7 water developments and fencing have improved the farm’s productivity. Mitch shared his ideas on controlling parasites, raising Sudan grass and handling labor shortages. I left this farm knowing that today’s farmer has to learn, change and innovate to meet a farm’s demand. The Stemler farm represents the future of Agriculture. Congratulations to the District Farm of the year for 2022.