West Virginia Cattle Farm Is Family Affair That Will Be Passed On

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SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — The sign in front of the long farm lane off Flowing Springs Road reads "Elmwood Fields and Forests. Lucas 1732. Stine 1949."

The 18th-century brick farmhouse and the 315 acres on which it sits are home to Oscar and Janet Stine, both 83, and their herd of 175 champion red angus beef cattle.

"We're only the second owners," Oscar Stine said. His parents, O.P. and Ruth Stine, bought the property from the heirs of Edward Lucas, the original owner.

"The house is much like it was when it was built," Janet Stine said. "A lot of people buy an old house like this and change it."

The Stines said two of their five children are interested in keeping the farm in the family so Elmwood will pass on to the next generation.

The children come out often to help with the chores, Oscar Stine said, much like he did when his parents owned the place.

"They all love the farm and love to come home," he said.

On Thanksgiving, some of the family came home for dinner in the warmth of the huge basement fireplace, the same fireplace where most meals were cooked in the farm's early days.

"There were 11 of us for dinner," Janet Stine said.

The Stines, who met at Oberlin College in Ohio, have been married for 57 years. Janet Stine taught school until the children came along and Oscar Stine went on to medical school. He practiced in Baltimore and later at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va. He retired from there in 1999.

Rudy Ranelli has worked on the farm for more than 16 years and is knowledgeable about the breed, according to Oscar Stine. "Rudy believes red angus are more docile," he said.

Red and black angus cattle originated in Scotland, he said.

The Stines put 235 of their 315 acres into the Jefferson County Farm Protection Program, Janet Stine said. The rules say land in the easement program has to stay in agriculture forever.

Janet Stine is one of the first members of the county's farm protection board. It was founded by Lavonne Paden in 2002, she said.

Oscar Stine became familiar with the red angus breed at Wye Plantation, an angus farm operated by the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture & Natural Resources.

"I saw a bull there and I thought it looked good," he said.

He established one of the early red angus farms in the region and has been registering red angus cattle for more than 27 years.

Oscar Stine said he likes the breed because the animals are docile. He likes their temperament and the fact that the cows have small calves.

This year, one of the Stines' champion bulls won a top award from the Pennsylvania Cattlemen's Association.

The bull was born March 15, 2009, and a year later it weighed 1,357 pounds, all on grass and silage grown on the farm, "plus minerals," Janet Stine said.

The bull was sold for breeding. This year, the bull's son is

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.



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