POINT PLEASANT - Tim Boyce’s handshake is firm and he looks you in the eye when speaking. You get the feeling that he could have been anything that he desired as a young man growing up on the land that he now works to produce hay and beef cattle.
Boyce, 52 is soft spoken and thoughtful with his words. He speaks proudly of his family and intelligently about his craft that can be traced to the early 1900’s and his Great Grandfather James Henry Boyce.
“I knew at around 12 years old that I wanted to farm. It’s in my blood and I take pride in what we do,” said Tim.
That pride paid dividends last Thursday as Boyce Farms was honored as the 2013 Western Conservation District’s Jackson County and district Farm of the Year at the 67th Annual Awards Banquet at the Farm Museum in Point Pleasant.
“I had no idea that I was even nominated. I am very proud of the award but there are many farmers who deserve to be recognized,” he added.
Western Conservation Supervisor Carla Mullins believes in the results Boyce Farms produces.
“Of many deserving candidates, Tim Boyce and his family are the perfect choice for the Jackson County and District award in 2013.”
Tim, his wife Patricia and their sons Eric 24 and Jesse 22 live together on the farm with Tim’s parents, Charles and Janet.
Both Eric and Jesse were diagnosed with autism as children and the family have embraced it, encouraging the young men to contribute to the family business as much as possible.
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behavior.
Patricia is open and outspoken about Autism and how her boys have grown and developed through patience, education and lots of family love and encouragement.
“Eric and I help with the hay and Jesse does various things for his Father. It is important for them to contribute,” said Patricia.
Patricia started the “River Valley Autism Network” and helps other parents through the organization.
“It is important for parents to realize that they aren’t alone and there are resources out there to help them,” she added.
The Boyce brothers have started their own business called “Boyce Brothers Antiques.” The boys have even taken over their Mother’s quilting cottage to store and work on their antique offerings for the business.
The Boyce Farm is a father and son affair, with Tim and Charles still working the land that once produced burley tobacco when the product was in high demand.
Page 2 of 3 - Today, there are over 227 acres of pastureland and over 112 acres of hay land on the farm that boasts about 800 total acres on Maul Camp Run in Medina.
Tim holds down a day job at the Parkersburg Utility Board where he manages bio-solids that are produced from the City of Parkersburg.
Tim has received certification to use bio-solids on his farm with a tremendous increase in forage production.
The Boyce family has put several conservation measures into play on their land. The frost seeding of all pastureland and meadows to clovers has helped diversify the grass species. Frost seeding with legumes not only assists the soil by providing protection from erosion but the fix nitrogen in the soil and provides the steady growth of forages during the growing season.
“We have found success with these measures over time and we always look to do things more efficiently,” said Tim.
Spring developments and ponds have been established to water cattle properly. Boyce participates in the Conservation Stewardship Program where he harvests his hay in a way that allows wildlife to escape from cutting equipment and uses survey tape to flag his fencing in high traffic areas so that deer can meet another CSP enhancement activity.
The farm has been equipped with an Animal Waste Structure which provides reduced soil erosion and improved water quality of the farm during winter feedings. The structure can feed 80 calf/cow pairs and provide adequate storage for manure that is produced in the feeding area.
Charles Boyce is proud of the man his son has become.
“He is a good man. Tim works hard and I am proud of him for keeping the farm alive and well for another generation,” he said.
“He allows me to help out and get my hands dirty and it makes my day.”
Tim believes that it is important to take the future of farming seriously and develop an interest among today’s youth.
“We need kids to become inspired and put down the video games,” said Tim. “The future of farming is in their hands.”
Tim hates to see once fertile farmland grown over and unused.
“It just breaks my heart.”
The Boyce family is active within the local farming community and they say that that support is invaluable.
They mention Rex and Carolyn Miihlbach, Neal Thomas and Dewayne Boyce as a few of many who have contributed in one way or another, to the Boyce Farms success.
Natural Resources Conservation District (NRCS) Soil Conservationist Luke Hunter and Civil Engineering Technician Rodney Sites have been a positive influence on Tim Boyce.
“They do so much and have been there for us like many others,” said Tim as he offered a firm handshake and a smile as the evening came to an end.
Page 3 of 3 - Other winners on this night - Mason County: Miles Epling and Epling Farms. Putnam County: Putnam County Julie Schaer and The Potager.
The Ravenswood FFA took first place in the West Virginia Grassland contest, second place in the West Virginia Envirothon, fourth in State Land judging and seventh in Envirothon at the National FFA Convention.
In the Mid America Grassland Contest, Paige Barr took third place and Jonathan Tanner notched fourth place. Both are members of Ravenswood FFA.
Four Ravenswood High students earned WVACD College scholarships; Paige Barr, Tiffany Harvey, Richard Mahan and Conrad McCoy.