I recently visited a farm in Hancock County, West Virginia, for a story I’m working on and it got me thinking. Each farm is different and each has its own purpose.

The farm I visited is centering its mission on conservation and wildlife. The owners are not less committed to the farm’s survival or the land staying a farm. However, they are not dependent on it for their monetary survival.

It’s been in their family since the Revolutionary War and they want it to stay that way. They want it to remain a farm. Just a farm of a different type.

Some farms were meant to be dairy farms, some were meant to be beef farms, others were meant to be pork operations, sheep farms and still others are destined to be poultry farms.

Other farms were meant to change as the family needs changed. Some began as the family farm just producing enough food to feed the members. Others started as dairy farms and have integrated beef and sheep and sold the dairy herd.

Just like everything else, we have to be open and accept different ideas of what agriculture means and what keeps a farm going.

While the production may change on the farm, I don’t believe the core values do. The barn still remains a barn and is ready to house what ever needs a place to grow. The water supply on the farm (let’s hope) doesn’t end and the ground remains fertile so that everyone on it has his needs met.

And the people… That’s the tricky part sometimes. The people on the farm will change. That is just a given. Whether it will be the necessity to sell or just life’s changes, people will change. Sometimes you just never know what people will do.

However, I do believe the goal of every farmer is to do their best to ensure the farm stays a farm and keeps the circle of life going. It might not always stay in the family as hoped and the new owners may want to take the farm in a different direction, but I believe the farmer’s hope remains: for the land to remain a farm of some type.

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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