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Seven Virginia farms recognized for work to protect water quality

conservationSeven farms have been awarded 2020 Virginia Grand Basin Clean Water Farm Awards.

These awards are presented yearly to farmers or farm owners who are doing exceptional work to protect soil and water resources. One winner is selected from each of the major river basins for the Grand Basin Clean Water Farm Award.

“Virginia farmers are working hard in difficult times to stay in business and feed the world,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “The Grand Basin Clean Water Farm Award winners are among our most innovative stewards of the land and water. Their outstanding conservation work benefits all Virginians.”

The awards are sponsored by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation in partnership with Virginia’s 47 soil and water conservation districts.

Several winning farms are owned and operated by third or fourth generations of the same family. Some go back even further, such as the Belle-Hampton Farm in Pulaski County, which was established in 1767 by ancestors of the Hoge Family.

“I want to commend Virginia farmers who are taking steps to protect soil health and water quality on their land and congratulate the winners of the Grand Basin Clean Water Farm Award who are doing just that to have a productive business and protect the environment,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I also want to recognize the families who have kept their land in production for many decades — even centuries — for utilizing new technologies and innovative practices to remain viable.”

Award recipients typically participate in the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program, which helps farmers implement more than 70 different structural and agronomic practices to protect soil and water. Practices include fencing to keep livestock out of waterways, nutrient management, cover crops, grass or vegetative buffers along streams, and no-till techniques to minimize soil disturbance.

DCR and soil and water conservation districts are partners in administering the program.

“Winners of the Grand Basin Clean Water Farm Award have made long-term commitments to protecting the land and the water,” DCR Director Clyde Cristman said. “We applaud them for choosing to implement best management practices that contribute to successful farming operations and a healthier environment for us all.”

Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts President Giannina Frantz said, “District staff have worked closely with these farmers to plan and implement agricultural conservation practices to protect our natural resources. Proudly, some soil and water conservation districts have partnered with these farms for decades. We take great pride in forging these partnerships and appreciate the opportunity to assist the agricultural community with being good stewards of the land.”

For descriptions of each farm, go to

River Basin Farm Name Awardee Name(s) Nominating Soil and Water
Conservation District
James River Overhome Farm Ronnie Nuckols Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District
New-Yadkin Rivers Belle-Hampton Farm Tom and Madeline Hoge Skyline Soil and Water Conservation District
Potomac River Fort Bacon Farm Joshua Cockerill Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District
Rappahannock River Goodall Family Farm Paul and Joe Goodall Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District
Roanoke River Oak Ridge Farm Dennis C. Powell Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District
Shenandoah River D&M Farms LLC Mike Dirting, Linda Miller, Nathaniel Dirting and Brent Miller Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District
York River Elk Creek Farm Bill Morris Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District


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