JANE LEW, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia University Extension hosted its educational dinner meeting at the Jane Lew Park Community Building on Tuesday.

The program spoke about farm profitability, with Brian Wickline as the presenter. Officials with WVU Extension said Wickline has visited with many farmers around the Mountain State and entered their economic data into a spreadsheet program that helps cow and calf producers determine profitability based on several factors, not just income and expenses. From working with these farmers, Wickline has been able to witness some of the stumbling blocks of farm profitability. Wickline also discussed financial management tips and key factors used when determining farm profitability.

“We are going to talk specifically about financial aspects of agriculture and some of the things that lead to more profit, and some of the things that take away from profit, and some of the trends that we’ve seen from the research that we’ve done,” said Bruce Loyd, WVU Extension agent for Lewis County.

Wickline was born and raised on a beef cattle and Christmas tree farm in Monroe County. In 1996, he completed his bachelor’s degree from WVU in Agricultural Education and began working for the WVU Extension Service as the program coordinator of the Greenbrier River Hydrologic Unit. While working for WVU Extension, he completed his Master of Agriculture degree in 2000. In 2001, Wickline was hired by the WV Conservation Agency as a Grassland Technician, and in 2003, he became the WVU Extension Agent in Monroe County, where he is currently serving.

“He has done a lot of work with this financial analysis program and visited with lots of farmers around that state, and trying to see these patterns and trends of what is important in terms of financial management,” Loyd said. “One of the big things is that with the increase in prices with everything, equipment costs more, fuel costs more, and so one of our strengths in WV is to be able to grow grass to feed cattle, sheep and so on. And so, one of the things we’ve seen is, one of our strengths is to focus on the grass and try and get away from a lot of capital investments.”

Wickline’s areas of concentration are livestock and forage production, livestock marketing, nutrient management, niche marketing and financial analysis for farmers.

Currently, he and his wife Leslie have two children and live on a 70-cow, grass-based organic dairy and also run a 150-head of beef cattle near Union, W.Va.