Conservation and Stewardship
We strive to make the best use of natural resources with conservation practices such as stream exclusion fencing with strategically placed water troughs to allow for managed grazing. These practices have resulted in more grass production with healthier and more diverse stands of grass. The quail have also come back. The riparian areas are abundant with wildlife and birds. We are in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and we are doing our part to ensure good water quality. With the timber enterprise, we planted Loblolly Pines in the spring of 2012 after a harvest in late 2011. This renewable resource provides a wide assortment of wood and paper products plus wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, oxygen production, and elimination of erosion. Our goal is to be a good steward of the land.
2016 Clean Water Farm Award
The Virginia Clean Water Farm Grand Basin Awards are presented each year to farmers who are doing exceptional work to protect soil and water resources. One winner is selected from each of Virginia’s 10 major river basins. The awards are sponsored by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in partnership with Virginia’s 47 soil and water conservation districts. We were honored this year to be the James River Grand Basin award winner, nominated by the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District. The James River Basin covers 10,265 square miles and is Virginia’s largest river basin.
Our work with the Soil and Water Conservation District began 20 years ago when we installed our first two concrete waterers, tapping a spring to clean up a consistently wet area. Since then, we have fenced and protected over 4 miles of stream bank, creating 23.5 acres of riparian buffer, and installed 11 more water troughs. We have also developed a rotational grazing system with 17 separate paddocks which, in 2016, allowed us to graze until late December.
Two of several water troughs located on the farm to provide year-round fresh water for the cattle.
Loblolly pines being planted in early spring 2013.
Pines with 1 1/2 years growth in fall 2014.