VINTON — The Gallia Soil and Water Conservation District hosted its annual Farm City Day on Saturday at the Payne Farm on Coal Valley Road in Vinton, inviting the public to learn about sustainable farming practices and showing children how food is raised.
“Conservation is our main thing, but overall that includes agriculture,” said GSWD Program Administrator Nick Mills. “Usually, because (agriculture) is so tight-knit, especially in this county, a lot of the families know each other, so we try to move it around the county. That’s why we’re up in the northwest (of Gallia). We may try the northeast next time. A lot of it is whether the landowner will allow us to do all this on their farm because every one we go to is an active farm.”
The GSWD chooses a new farm every year for their Farm City Day event, which attempts to display farming practices such as sheep and cattle rotational grazing techniques, soil health information and more. Wagon tours were offered as well as food.
“When we approached the Paynes (about hosting Farm City Day), it was kind of interesting because (their farm) used to be all stripped (mine) ground and they’ve built it up over the years to make it productive and make a living off of a lot of reclaimed ground,” said Mills.
Mills said the overall goal of Farm City Day is to “allow people to become aware that you don’t go to a supermarket and that food just magically appears. There’s a lot of things that go into it. People need to be aware how important agriculture is. Anybody can start their own farm, but to do it and be able to sustain that to pass it onto the next generation is a big goal.”
“My great-grandparents purchased this farm in 1937,” said Scott Payne. “I am the third generation. My kids will be the fourth generation to grow up and work here. Having everybody out here is great to have them out here to show them what we do and what all is involved with agriculture. Some people have no idea how their food is raised and this is just a good chance to show people how that’s done.”
Payne said the family was in the dairy business until 2007 before getting out. Scott also manages a research station in Jackson County for Ohio State University. Payne said his father still works full-time in farming practices.
Payne said the family and farm custom raise dairy heifers for herds up to 1,000 heads all over Ohio and Indiana. Scott said his father, at times, can have up to 400 heifers he is working with.
“We raise them from 3 to 400 pounds, up to 800 pounds,” Payne said. “That’s about four months of age to 12 months of age. We’ve got about 75 beef cows, too. We have a cow calf operation and we sell feeder calves in the fall.”
Scott’s parents are John and Denise Payne.
“We, they (John and Denise) mostly, have done a lot of different things over the last few years,” Scott said. “We’re always trying to find something different and something new (in agriculture). It’s good not to have all your eggs in one basket.”
Between Scott and his wife, Jamie, they are raising 125 ewes.
The Payne farmlands consist of about 500 acres, according to Scott. They also lease a few hundred more acres.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.