Livestock exclusion buffers and forest buffers work together!

The Department of Conservation and Recreation offers a Clean Water Farm Award which recognizes Virginia Producers who are enacting conservation practices on their properties that positively impact soil and water quality and encourage others in the stewardship of our natural resources.

This year the Peter Francisco Soil & Water District recognized a local producer for their conservation efforts, through the 2022 Clean Water Farm Award. It was awarded to John & Joanne Doss at Hundred Year Farm located in Cumberland County, VA. Through the Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share Program over a 3-year period they installed 17,000 feet of live-stock exclusion fencing, alternative watering systems and stream crossings to create an intricate rotational grazing system for their beef cattle herd. The project excluded 44 acres of grass and mature forest buffer. Within those 44 acres the Doss’s also wanted to plant trees in the excluded open grass buffer areas, so the Peter Francisco SWCD and the James River Association teamed up!

Kelly Snoddy (PFSWCD) pictured, assists Anne Marie Roberts (JRA) measure out the newly excluded buffer areas to plan for the hardwood tree planting buffer project.

They participated in the James River Buffer Program in two phases as their projects with the District were completed. During the planting seasons of Spring ‘21 and Fall ‘22 JRA coordinated the installation of Conservation Services, Inc. planting 3.8 acres of riparian buffer amounting to 1,138 shrubs and trees planted across 22 buffer sections across the farm! Joanne is an avid gardener, so trees with pretty blooms was one of her requests as their buffer plan was developed. 

The James River Association coordinates buffer projects across the Middle James Watershed with conservation partner the VA Department of Forestry. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation covers the Upper James Watershed. Take a quick glance at this map to see if your property is eligible for a forest buffer!

On June 1st from 1pm-2pm, the Upper and Middle James Riparian Buffer Consortium will be holding a buffer funding webinar where we will discuss funding programs available for landowners. Learn more about the James River Buffer Program, the VA Agricultural Cost-Share Program and other local conservation programs. Please join us, spread the word and register here!