POINT PLEASANT — Miles Epling of Epling Family Farms was recently honored as the 2013 Mason County Conservation Farmer by the Western Conservation District. Owning a farm has always been a dream of Epling’s since leaving the service. His sons Tommy and Travis, brother Tom, as well as family and friends Andy Hall, Keith Pridemore and Emil Hoffman assist with the operation of the farm.
Miles purchased the farm in 2007 and has done an amazing job in transforming it back into a working cattle farm which is located just off Sandhill Road outside of Point Pleasant, according to the conservation district. When Miles first bought the farm it had been neglected for several years and he’s spent a lot of time just cleaning up the farm and making it what it is today.
Under the assistance of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Miles has installed a new pond and renovated an existing pond on the property to provide adequate water to the livestock on his farm. The farm consists of 122 acres and produces beef cattle and hay. The Epling’s specialize in club calves for local 4-H and FFA students in the surrounding area.
Miles has upgraded buildings on the farm and has built a hunting cabin to allow family and friends to enjoy this beautiful farm, the conservation district stated. New fencing has been installed on the farm to help manage the beef cattle herd. Cross fencing totaling 1,750 feet has been installed to split a large grazing field. Miles also participates in the Conservation Stewardship Program which has increased his management activities on the farm through several Epling Family Farms honored by the conservation district.
He’s also added several wildlife enhancements including retro fitting watering troughs to allow wildlife to escape from the troughs, flagging fence to increase visibility to deer, and mows his hay to allow escape routes for wildlife. He also manages his pastures by stock piling forages, rotating supplements and feeding areas, and managing his calving season to coincide with forage availability.
District Conservationist Jackie Byars says that working with Miles has been a true enjoyment and his willingness and desire to restore this farm into a well-managed and productive beef cattle operation has been a pleasure. Future plans are to install a feeding area to be able to properly manage animal waste produced during winter feeding.
Miles serves as the West Virginia State Adjutant for the West Virginia American Legion and has also served in leadership positions at the national level for the organization as well. He is currently serving as a county commissioner in Mason County and is always willing to help out in the community, according to the conservation district.