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B&G Orchards Inc. in Martinsburg named top farm in the Mountain State in 2012

January 12, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • Members of the Butler family are shown with West Virginia state agriculture officials after accepting the award for being named 2012 West Virginia Conservation Farm of the Year earlier this month in Charleston, W.Va. Pictured are, front row, from left, Jennifer Butler, Ginnie Butler, Bruce Butler Sr., Bruce Butler Jr., Greg Butler and West Virginia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass; and back row, Louis Aspey, acting state conservationist with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service; Gary Sawyer, president of the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts; Alfred Lewis, state executive director of the USDA-Farm Service Agency; Susan Butler; Steve Cronin of Middletown Tractor Sales; and Paul Lewis, assistant director of outreach and community affairs for the WVU Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
Submitted photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The coveted West Virginia Conservation Farm of the Year Award is staying in the Eastern Panhandle.

B&G Orchards Inc., at 1787 Thatcher Road in Martinsburg, was named the top farm in the Mountain State in 2012 for the business’ outstanding conservation of natural resources on the 403-acre family farm, the West Virginia Conservation Partnership announced Friday.

Owned and operated by Bruce Butler Sr. and his sons, Bruce Jr. and Greg, the family grows more than 75 varieties of fruits and vegetables, and raises about 115 head of cattle. The family also owns Butler’s Farm Market, where they sell a majority of the produce they grow.

“This is such a great honor,” Bruce Butler Jr. said in a news release. “It’s very humbling, and I know that only one farm won, but if you noticed one thing that was the same for each of (the finalists), was that love of the land and soil. That’s why we do it.”

Long Creek Farm in Tyler County finished second, and Stone Meadow Cattle in Greenbrier County was third.

The award is decided after a judging team evaluates criteria such as conservation farm plans, best management practices, farmland usage and farm family involvement in the community.

The Butlers were recognized for donations of produce to three church food banks on a weekly basis as well as support of a local soup kitchen and scholarships for area high schools.

The Butler family was presented with a plaque and $1,000 check Wednesday by Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass at the 2012 West Virginia Conservation Awards and Recognition Banquet.

Douglass said in the news release that one of the great pleasures of his job has been the opportunity to visit the state’s outstanding family farms.

“It is always difficult to choose the best conservation farm, but I think we have a very worthy winner in B&G Orchards,” he said.

The winning farm owners also received 200 hours or four months use of a new John Deere tractor.

Last year, Mark and Laura Glascock, owners of Glascock’s Produce in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., received the top honor for their 84-acre farm, where they also grow fruit and vegetables.

“We were very excited,” Heather Tishman of the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District said Friday of the second consecutive win for the Eastern Panhandle.

B&G Orchards is the third Berkeley County farm to win the honor since it first was awarded in 1954, according to the West Virginia Conservation Agency.

Carla Kitchen’s farm and orchard operation off Kitchens Orchard Road was recognized as the 2008 winner, and Leo C. McIntire was honored in 1960.

The other state winners in the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District have come from Jefferson County — Warren and Reva Mickey (2004), Robert and Lynne Gruber (1999), Stile & Riggs Inc. (1989) and Irvin King (1984).

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