Eubanks earns Farm-City award

Published 8:09 am Friday, November 25, 2011

Cliff and Wilma Eubanks purchased their first Pike County farm in 1972 and the farm has expanded over the years to include five different farms, four in Pike County and one in Coffee County.

Their efforts to manage timber earned them the 2011 Pike County Farm-city Timber Award, presented by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Farm-City committee and the Troy Kiwanis Club.

About half the Eubanks’ 800-acre farm was purchased from the Alabama Children’s Home in Troy in 1986. The Eubanks make their home on this property on Elm Street that is known as Twin Oaks Farm.

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“We have about 400 acres of managed timberlands, most of which is planted in loblolly and longleaf pine,” Cliff Eubanks said. “These acres are managed for lumber and pulpwood productions. We don’t cut our hardwoods except to give the other trees space to grow. Our hardwoods are maintained for wildlife. They provide a food source for the wildlife as well as shelter.”

The other half of the Eubanks farm is devoted to pasture and hay lands to support a herd of Angus cattle.

Eubanks attended the Alabama Forestry Commission Burn School and became a certified prescribed burn manager.

This has allowed him to effectively carry out prescribed burns to reduce wildfire damage, limit invasive species and greatly enhance wildlife habitat.

“To do prescribed burns, you have to know about wind, wind speeds and humidity. There’s a science to it.”

Eubanks said smoke on the roadways can be very dangerous to motorists and it’s most important to know about wind conditions when burning.

“If you don’t understand wind conditions, it’s best not to burn,” he said. “A fire can get out of control in a short time and do a lot of damage before it’s brought under control. When there’s smoke on the roadway, that’s an indication that somebody doesn’t understand.”

Eubanks said there is usually a window of time when it’s safe to do prescribed burning.

“You have to take advantage of the window of time because prescribed burning is helpful to the forest and it promotes new growth that is beneficial to the wildlife,” he said.

Eubanks bought a bulldozer to construct and maintain fire lanes.

“The fire lanes also make good hiking trails for the children and grandchildren,” he said, with a smile. “We enjoy our timberlands in different ways –hiking, observing wildlife and the peace and serenity they offer.”

Eubanks is a member of the Troy Rotary Club and serves on the executive board of the Pike County Chapter of the Alabama Treasure Forest Association.

Cliff and Wilma Eubanks are members of First Baptist Church of Troy. They have three children.