Farms and Farming: The Quad State’s Unnoticed Entrepreneurs

Could I see a show of hands of those whose first thought is farming when they think of Quad State entrepreneurs?

No, farming is certainly not the first thing MOST of us think about even when we think about Quad State businesses. But farming being the oldest profession (I’ll wager you thought something else was–but you have been misled!), should be classified with instead of apart from ‘normal’ business listings.

The reason, I feel, that farming is listed as a separate category is because there are so many government regs, rules and strings tied to farming. But having said that, I want to draw your attention to a Jefferson County farming event that has interest for every part of your family.

2014 Jefferson County Farm Day to take Place on Saturday, June 21

(Jefferson County, W.Va.)–Four Jefferson County farms will open their barns and bring out their produce, livestock and equipment and host the public on Saturday, June 21, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. for the 2014 Jefferson County Farm Day.

Now in its 13th year, Farm Day is a free, self-guided tour showcasing four of Jefferson County’s many working farms. The farms are: Drilake Farm, 348 Smith Road, Charles Town; Green Horizons Turf Farm, Darke Lane, Kearneysville; Miller Farms, 4120 Bower Road, Kearneysville; Mars Hall Farm, 36 Vanderveer Lane, Shepherdstown or 2845 Kearneysville Pike, Shepherdstown. Visitors may stop at each of the four farms at any point during the designated tour times.

Jefferson County Farm Day was created to showcase local agriculture and its value as a vital component of our community and environment,” said founder Jane Tabb. 

Each farm is unique in its production, operations and terrain.

DRILAKE FARM: Irving King started farming 50 years ago and now has a 1,000+ acre operation. He produces corn, soybeans, wheat, rye and hay, plus much more. Visit this farm and you will see Case and Massey Ferguson farm equipment and have the opportunity to meet West Virginia Dairy Princess Leah Minch.

GREEN HORIZONS TURF FARM: Continuing a 200-year family farming tradition, Joseph Ware founded this 400-acre farm in 2002 and produces turf grass sod and rotates crops for soil fertility and conservation. He will be on hand to answer grass-growing questions and demonstrate a sod harvester on the hour.

MILLER FARMS: This farm was established in 1980 and owners Jim and Pam Miller and daughter Cheryl have two enterprises. Three instructors offer riding lessons and board is also provided. In addition, the Millers grow fruits and vegetables, including many greens, and sell their produce on the farm Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.

MARS HALL FARM: Bill Marshall is in his second year as a produce grower and has three tillable acres with plans to expand. He grows many vegetables and herbs, from eggplants and radishes to broccoli and cauliflower and more. He also has bee hives for honey and chickens for eggs. He sells directly from the farm seven days a week.

Marian Buckner of Shepherdstown has been attending Farm Day for many years. “Many local families who do not farm look forward to our annual Farm Day,” she said. “Each time I’ve attended, we see children who visit and delight in baby animals and baby chicks, as well as in horses and other larger animals. Even bee hives attract their attention.”

Jefferson County Farm Day is sponsored by the Jefferson County Farm Bureau, Potomac Headwaters RC & D Council, the Small Business Development Center of the Panhandle and the WVU Jefferson County Extension Service.

For other information contact Jane Tabb, 304-725-4325, Vinemont@frontiernet.net. Driving directions and additional information about the farms are available online at: www.Jefferson.ext.wvu.edu and www.JeffersonFarms.org.

Cradled by the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and nestled between North Mountain and the Blue Ridge, Jefferson County has long been called the garden of West Virginia. More than 300 farms operate in this valley of fertile soil and produce a diversity of crops, livestock and specialty items. With 70,000 agriculturally productive acres, Jefferson County is one of West Virginia’s top counties for agriculture.

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About Jack Stephens

John 'Jack' Stephens comes from a family of business owners, entrepreneurs and consultants to small businesses—especially in the technical area.

He enjoys working with CEOs in developing new products and services for both current and future markets. He considers himself a business futurist in the style of a Faith Popcorn as to looking at the big picture developments in trending.

Jack also enjoys seeing the serendipity of two (or more) businesses working together in a joint-venturing or strategic alliance relationship—and thereby creating a third entity in a marketplace.

He has consultant for clients of all sizes—from the Fortune 100 category in firms such as Pitney-Bowes and Boise Cascade and also to one person entities. He particularly enjoys working with businesses less than 50 employees—as well as the start up entity.

He loves coaching non-competitive small business owners in his private Google Hangout as well as teaching inside and outside sales techniques.

Jack has also worked with Steve Lanning in helping companies and their management teams craft new and revised business plans.

Jack also enjoys what he calls 'creative disagreement' discussions! Reach him at Jack.QSBJ@gmail.com

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