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It takes more than an acre of dirt to be a farmer

By Damian Phillips, The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Farming as an occupation is sometimes seen as an easygoing lifestyle with the freedom to choose your own hours.

However, the many facets of the industry require that farmers be a master of many trades. Engineering, veterinary care, meteorology, biology, marketing and accounting are just some of the facets of the industry that farmers must become proficient in.

Proficiency in engineering is skill that many farmers gain out of necessity.

“When a piece of machinery is broken down in the field, time is of the essence,” said Taylor County WVU Extension Agent John Murray.

Dealerships that provide service often have a backlog of several weeks at least, which can delay harvests that are ripe for the picking.

“[In West Virginia], it’s not uncommon to have three generations working together on a farm,” Murray said.

On these generational farms, engineering skills are often passed down from one generation to the next.

Other times, though, young farmers learn these skills in Future Farmers of America classes or from their local vocational centers, Murray said.

Carpentry for repairing buildings, electrical wiring for equipment and buildings, animal husbandry and more are taught at these centers.

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