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Producing Excellence

Kelli and Brian Eglinger

Augusta, WV

Pine Draft Farm

Products: Cattle and poultry

Size of Operation: 35 cow/calf pairs, 7,000 hens

In Business Since: 1996

Farm Credit Partner: Farm Credit of the Virginias

Working with Farm Credit Since: 2004

Brian and Kelli Eglinger took quite a leap when they bought Brian's family farm when he was just 21, but nearly two decades later the couple has built a successful, diversified operation that in 2012 earned them the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association Annual Farm Family Environmental Excellence Award.

Brian worked as a service technician in the poultry industry for over a decade before moving to full-time farming. He credits this experience for preparing him to build his own facility in 2004, financed by Farm Credit of the Virginias. “I got to see some things that worked well and some things that didn't. So, I tried to bring the best parts to our breeder house while we planned the building," he says.

The chicken house supports 7,000 hens and 700 roosters, and produces dry litter, which is later applied to the farm's pasture. The facility, which includes a waste storage shed, was built with assistance provided by the USDA's NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a voluntary program that helps producers meet environmental regulations by providing technical and financial assistance. Litter is stored and applied on the farm according to a Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) plan with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a water quality enhancement activity.

“Managing phosphorus levels in the soil is very important and we spend a significant amount of time and resources to work within our nutrient management plan. By soil testing frequently, it ensures we use only what our pasture needs," he said.

Environmental concerns also guide how the Eglingers manage their cow/calf herd. They use rotational grazing, which offers multiple benefits: reduced erosion, enhanced runoff control, improved rainfall infiltration, reduced machinery use, and improved wildlife habitat and animal health. It's also management intensive, requiring the herd to be moved between 20 separate paddocks every five days. The paddocks have permanent water troughs and the cattle are not allowed into bodies of water on the farm, which reduces the chance of manure reaching streams. “The stream is fenced out with a 35 to 200 foot barrier. That project is recognized in the CSP plan," says Kelli.

Brian admits that the efforts he and Kelli have put in place take additional time and money, but believes they're worth it. “The main thing is that I want young farmers, the future, to be able to continue farming and I want to set a good example," he says. “I think it's also important for other farmers to understand that a lot of the environmental plans not only help with conservation, but they are beneficial to the farmer's business as well."

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