<strong>By Lauren Moore\r\n<\/strong><strong>Public Affairs Specialist<\/strong>\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_34899" align="alignleft" width="264"]<img class=" wp-image-34899" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2018\/11\/Byrnside-2-e1541169757106.jpg" alt="" width="264" height="352" \/> Dirk sells pumpkins, winter squash gourds directly to consumers during the autumn season.[\/caption]\r\n<h1>\u201cIt started with a six-acre corn maze and a few pumpkins,\u201d said Dirk McCormick, a farmer who has welcomed guests to his Union, West Virginia, farm every fall for 15 years.<\/h1>\r\nAdding a little more each year to his fall attraction, visitors to Byrnside Branch Farm can enjoy three mazes, a U-pick pumpkin patch, seasonal produce, bonfires, farm animals and farm tour by tractor.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is our 15th year, but it wasn\u2019t very big when it first started,\u201d he said. \u201cA lot of locals and people from surrounding towns come out and visit.\u201d\r\n\r\nDirk grows 18 acres of pumpkins, 14 types of winter squash and six varieties of gourds, which he sells directly to consumers during the autumn growing season.\r\n\r\n\u201cI worked on a neighboring dairy farm and my dad had a small farm, so I\u2019ve been farming all my life,\u201d he said. \u201cI bought this farm in the early \u201880s and have been operating on my own ever since.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe farm was purchased with a farm ownership loan through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). These loans allow producers to purchase farmland, construct and repair buildings and make farm improvements.\r\n\r\nA dairy farmer originally, Dirk transitioned the farm into a beef, vegetable and row crop operation. In addition to his festive fall crops, he raises cattle and grows potatoes, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and more.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhether I\u2019m milking cows or growing vegetables, I like feeding other people,\u201d he said.\u00a0 \u201cI\u2019ve grown almost any kind of vegetable you can name. I sell them on an online farmers market.\u201d\r\n\r\nHe grows his vegetables in high tunnels, added with financial assistance from his local conservation district and USDA\u2019s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).\r\n\r\nDirk also enrolls his corn in FSA\u2019s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, which offer financial assistance to producers of major row crops when either commodity prices or revenues are below certain levels.\r\n\r\nThis year\u2019s biggest corn-maze spans 18 acres of his farm, with an additional two-acre corn maze for children and a smaller hay maze.\r\n\r\nOn his farm tour tractor hay ride, visitors can see his entire farm and farm animals, including sheep, goats, miniature horses, Quarter horses and longhorn cattle.\r\n\r\n\u201cI get a lot of questions about farming during those rides,\u201d Dirk said. \u201cSome kids never get the opportunity to see a farm and don\u2019t know where their food comes from. I\u2019m just glad that the kids that come to see my place get to see and feel that connection.\u201d\r\n\r\nFor more information about USDA programs and to find your local service center, visit farmers.gov.