The Greenbrier Valley Conservation District is pleased to announce that Pleasant Valley Farm, located near Gap Mills in Monroe County, was recognized in 2013 as a West Virginia Century Farm. The farm is owned by W. Alvin and Eleanor S. Porterfield of Lewisburg.
Initiated and administered by the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts, the West Virginia Century Farm Program honors families that have continuously farmed the same tracts of land for at least 100 years. Its mission is to raise awareness in the state regarding our agricultural heritage. The farm must have been in continuous operation by the same family, and a family member must live on the farm or be an integral part of the day-to-day operation of the farm enterprise. The farm must also consist of at least 10 acres of the original holdings and gross more than $1,000 annually from farm products.
The founder of Pleasant Valley Farm was James G. Young, who acquired the land on Sept. 28, 1883, with an original tract of 406 acres. James raised corn, hay and wheat on the farm. James was searching for a large enough farm where he could raise a family. The original house was a former tavern and was used by livestock drovers as they moved livestock to Eastern markets. One large field on the farm was used as a training area during the Civil War. Pleasant Valley Farm has been referred to as one of the most productive farms in Monroe County.
The Porterfields are the fourth generation to farm this property. There are currently 228 acres being farmed in the original 406 acres. In the 1970s and 1980s, Alvin and his brother Kendall operated Pleasant Valley Farm as Pleasant Valley Dairy. In the years that followed, Kendall’s sons Keith and Ronnie continued the dairy operation until 2006. The farm is currently operated by Alvin and nephews Keith and Ronnie Porterfield.
The Porterfields were honored as the Greenbrier Valley Conservation District’s Conservation Farm of the Year in 2011.
Pleasant Valley Farm is enrolled in a Conservation Plan through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Porterfields have participated in the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives, and Conservation Security Programs. Conservation practices installed on the farm include fencing of streams and woodland; troughs and spring developments; lime and frost-seeding of pastures. Alvin has also participated in the WV Department of Agriculture’s Gypsy Moth scouting and suppression program. The Porterfields have recently participated in the 319 Water Quality Program administered through the West Virginia Conservation Agency and the Greenbrier Valley Conservation District.
Alvin and Eleanor were honored as a Century Farm Family by the Greenbrier Valley Conservation District in October 2013 at their Annual Legislative and Awards Banquet, which was held at the Lewisburg United Methodist Church. They were presented with a sign designating Pleasant Valley Farm as a West Virginia Century Farm.
The Board of Supervisors and Staff of the Greenbrier Valley Conservation District congratulate the Porterfield Family for continuing to preserve the farming heritage of this beautiful Monroe County farm.
For further information about the WV Century Farm Contest, please contact the Greenbrier Valley Conservation District at 304-645-6173. The deadline for 2014 applications is Apr. 1.