Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007
Field day focuses on new farming practices
By SUE WATSON
Foxden, a beautiful 2,200-acre tree and cattle farm on Hernando Road, was the site of the 11th Annual Field Day, Saturday. Eight field-stop presentations and a big turnout of cattlemen, tree farmers and conservation enthusiasts helped make the day a success for all.
Sen. Ralph Doxey gave the keynote address at noon while guests enjoyed fried catfish and all the fixings a la Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
This year’s theme - “Silvopasture- the Integration of Forestry and Cattle” - highlighted the new farming practices being applied in Marshall County.
Art Waymire purchased the property from a timber company in 1991. The timber company had clear cut all the pine. Erosion was claiming the top soil. Most of the existing hardwood was saved. Waymire sought to restore the land to its original, pristine luster using modern farming practices. He learned about trees and cattle and the mixture of the two and the means of recycling material on the land - the wood, water, structures, grasses and rock. He planted food plots for wildlife and improved pastures, tributaries, ponds and lakes.
Art Waymire has garnered numerous awards since he bought the farm as an investment and place to live before the loss of his first wife in the 1990s.
Waymire received the state’s Conservationist Farm of the Year award in 2002, the local, district and state Tree Farmer of the Year award in 2003, and took second place in the Southern Regional Tree Farm of the Year in 2004. Waymire serves as president of the Mississippi Forestry Association and of the Mississippi State Forestry Commission.
Foxden mixes wetlands, timber (hardwood and pine) and cattle production and provides a lush environment for wildlife, both flora and fauna. This year’s tour wove these elements together into a fine five-mile tour.
Silvopasture is a way to get more than one income on tree farms that take decades to mature. Cattle provide extra income and help keep firelanes and fence rows clean and kudzu under control. There is no trouble with cattle damaging established stands of trees.
Waymire has said he bought the land for forestry as a long-term investment for the future of his children and grandchildren.
Before acquiring Foxden, he was a successful businessman.
This is the first time Foxden has served for a combined forestry and cattle association field day. Last year, Woods’ Farm in Byhalia was the site of the joint field day put on by the Marshall County Forestry Association and the Marshall County Cattleman’s Association.
Waymire was the founding president of the Marshall County Forestry Association.
His property is managed to maximize the production of forest products and cattle using the best conservation practices and procedures to promote wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities while protecting the environment and land.
A forest stewardship plan was prepared to meet these goals by former county forester Eddy Pou and Waymire and the plan was adopted in 1994. The plan included a cattle operation that has proven to be quite successful and the management plan has been recently updated by Alan VanValkenburg.
This year marked the third forestry field day on the farm with each one providing new and fresh stops.
Foxden has been made available for both youth and adult educational tours.
Some features of interest on the land include:
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