CLEAN WATER FARM AWARD
The Clean Water Farm award recognizes and thanks Virginia producers who:
Are enacting conservation practices that positively impact soil and water quality
Are role models who encourage others in the stewardship of natural resources
Anyone can nominate someone…contact the District to fill out an application. All applications, written summaries and pictures are due to DCR by November 1st each year.
–Winners in SWCD areas receive a “Clean Water Farm Award”
Grand Basin Award
–One candidate in each of Virginia’s 10 major river basins receive the “Grand Basin Clean Water Farm Award”
The 2019 CWFA was presented to Michael Asal of Cumberland County. The farm has been managed through three generations and was first established by Michael’s grandfather in 1947, his father in 1995 and Michael himself became more heavily involved in 2013. It totals 110 acres and the commercial beef cattle herd consists of 17 brood cows and 1 bull.
The property is located in the Willis River Watershed and drains to the James River.
Through conservation programs offered by the SWCD (specifically the Willis River TMDL program funded under a DEQ 319 grant and DCR’s VACS program) the following conservation practices were installed between 2014 and 2020: stream exclusion fencing, an alternative watering system, which includes watering facilities with water well and pipelines, and cross fencing to offer rotational grazing and improved management of the pasture. After the most recent surface water exclusion project completed in the winter of 2019/2020, ALL water bodies on the farm have now been excluded through the assistance of these conservation programs.
To date, over the various tracts of land, the following has been installed:
8,000 feet of stream exclusion fence (of which 3,800 of that is the Little Willis River); 900 feet of cross fence; 2,800 feet of pipeline; 1 well; and 4 watering troughs have been installed. Then fencing created 3.36 acres of buffer, which were then enrolled with the James River Buffer Program and planted in the fall of 2020.
Michael is looking forward to his next planned steps of working with the Virginia Cooperative Extension office and the Cumberland Agent, Amber Taylor, to improve the grass stand in the pastures. It is through farmers such as Michael that our soil and water can benefit from the improvements upon their land and their farming operation. He can be seen as an example for our agriculture community and future generations.
Mr. Robert Earl and Mrs. Annie Bryant were the recipients of the 2018 Clean Water Farm Award. The Bryant’s established their farming operation in 1971. Their beef cattle operation now consists of 100 brood cows and 4 bulls. Through conservation programs offered by the Farm Service Agency and Peter Francisco Soil and Water Conservation District, the following practices are now in place: 7,143 feet of stream exclusion fence; 1,700 feet of cross fence; 3,765 feet of pipeline; 4 wells; 1 limited access armored watering area in a stream; and 9 watering troughs have been installed and 2.8 acres of buffer have been created. After the most recent surface water exclusion project completed in 2018, ALL water bodies on the farm have now been excluded through the assistance of various conservation programs. Mr. Bryant believes, “It is our responsibility as stewards of the land to maintain it, keep it healthy and preserve it as we are passing through.” The Bryant’s are role models for our agricultural community and future generations.
Michael Asal and Todd Smith, PFSWCD Board Chairman
Annie & Robert Earl Bryant, Kevin Dunn (PFSWCD Board of Directors)