Kacey Orr spent her entire life living on a farm, but it wasn't until she was 25 years old that she decided to become a farmer herself.
"I owned a salon and I had an extremely early mid-life crisis," Orr, 33, said of her decision to go back to school to learn the trade.
Orr grows 36 varieties of vegetables and fruits and raises chickens to collect eggs, all of which she sells at the Wheeling and Moundsville farmers' markets. Her 30-acre Bullard Orr Farm in Triadelphia was started by her now deceased grandparents, Dorothy and Robert Orr. Originally it was a dairy farm, but when Interstate 70 was built, it separated the farm in half. Since it is illegal to run cows across an interstate, the farm stopped producing dairy.
Photo by Shelley Hanson
Ohio County farmer Kacey Orr holds a newspaper clipping about her late grandmother Dorothy Orr who was the first female president of the Ohio County Farm Bureau.
After years of learning and working the business, Orr will be putting her knowledge of farming and its related policies to the test, as she is slated to represent West Virginia during the American Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet from Jan. 10-12 in San Antonio, Texas. Orr, a member of the Brooke-Ohio County Farm Bureau, was chosen to compete at the state level first and won Nov. 9. Her prize for winning the state competition, which involves answering questions about farming and related policies, was having all her expenses paid by the West Virginia Farm Bureau to compete in the national competition in Texas.
"West Virginia is not as big. They've never had someone from Ohio County compete in the nationals," Orr said. "The competition is going to be tough, but I'm glad I get to go."
Orr said her fellow competitors will be people who run 1,000-acre farms. The top winner has their choice of a GMA Sierra or Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. The second, third and fourth-place winners will each receive Farmall tractors.
After receiving a regents bachelor's degree from West Liberty University, Orr stopped cutting hair at her salon, the Cutting Cottage, at the farm and decided to start farming food instead. She is helped by her father, Brady Orr, and boyfriend, Daniel Molinaro. When she is not farming, she works at Beauty Barks Day Spa in Martins Ferry. Orr noted her grandmother served as Ohio County's first female farm bureau president. An article about her was featured in the Sunday News-Register in 1977.