Small Grant Recipients

2016 White House Farm Native Plant Trail

Rudbeckia Hirta - Photo by Chris Anderson   With rain the day before, we had a great day to install the plants along the river trail at the White House Farm this past fall. We concentrated along the middle section of the trail, planting a mixture of wildflowers and shrubs obtained from Hill House Nursery in Castleton, Virginia.

This is the third major installation of additional native shrubs and wildflowers along the river trail and each group builds on the efforts of previous volunteers to enhance this stretch of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. By increasing the variety and number of native plants, we are supporting a more diverse ecosystem by providing food and habitat for insects, birds and mammals. Many of the wildflowers we plant are particularly suited to providing nectar for pollinators as well as a food source for caterpillars and seeds for birds.

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Kites and Critters

Catching TroutVCC’s Kites and Critters event held April 13, 2014 at the Moore farm on Bells Lane was quite successful. Our intent was to offer citizens, especially suburban and urban dwellers and young families, a chance to visit a local farm and see the kinds of conservation practices that can protect water and habitat. The response was extraordinary. Approximately 300 people visited the farm and by all accounts had a wonderful time. The kites helped draw in families, while the setting and the display encourage participants to also learn about conservation. The conservation tour included stream buffers, streambank restoration, and trout release. Many conservation partners participated to design the event and provide educational stations.

Click here for more pictures and to read the full story.

White House Farm Native Plant Trail


White House Farm Native Plant TrailOn a recent spring afternoon, the big yellow Page County school bus stopped along Kauffmans Mill Road and let out a group of students next to the riparian area of the farm. They were joined by teachers Tracey Shifflett and Chris Reisinger to help plant a new wildflower demonstration area next to the river trail along the Shenandoah.  Click here for the full story.



Smith Creek Cover Crop Field Day

The Cover Crop field day, sponsored by the Pure Water Forum, had 39 registered participants. It was a cold day for a field day, with a few snow flurries in the air.  But the information shared was very good. Nutrient management credits and continuing education credits for conservation planners were offered.

Smith Creek Cover Crop Field DayThe event began at the Tenth Legion Mountain Valley Ruritan Hall with a welcome and thank you to the Pure Water Forum for sponsoring the field day.  Then the group viewed a portion of the DVD entitled “Cover Crops of the Shenandoah Valley,” which was narrated by Richard Fitzgerald, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) agronomist.  Richard discussed the mechanics of the Smith Creek plots that contained a variety of mixed species, monoculture, and the no cover crop control plot, that were planted at Valley View Farms.  The video, which was filmed in the spring 2013, showed the cover crops in full bloom, so the audience could see what the plots looked like with living cover.  The plot walk through the corn planted into those cover crop plots, took place later that morning and Richard Fitzgerald discussed the corn yield results, which were hand harvested.

Matt Yancey from Virginia Cooperative Extension discussed yield results from plots on other farms in Rockingham County as part of a Conservation Innovation Grant he received through the NRCS. His and other Virginia Tech research results were discussed.

Chris Lawrence, State NRCS Agronomist, discussed basic principles of healthy soils and why cover crops are important.

Participants next caravanned to the plots, then walked through them to examine the corn and compare residue left on the ground between a variety of kill methods.  The group discussed the mixed results, including the fact that the no-cover control plot had a relatively high yield this fall.  The consensus of the group was that because Valley View Farms had been building soil quality over many years and that it was a high rainfall year, that yield differences were reduced and overall yield was good.

Participants returned back to the Tenth Legion Mountain Valley Ruritan Hall for a delicious lunch prepared by Hanks BBQ.Smith Creek Cover Crop Field Day

During lunch, there were presentations on ammonia emissions reductions from poultry houses by Rory Maguire, Virginia Tech, and poultry litter injection results from graduate student Stephanie Kulescza.  There was an optional return to the field to look at how grazing can be integrated into cover crops and a few hardy souls stayed for the afternoon walk.

Augusta County Farmland Leasing Workshop

The Augusta County Farmland Leasing Workshop addressed economic and legal issues in farmland leasing. Topics included the benefits of long-term leases for the landlord and the tenant, termination of leases, enforcement of lease provisions and how to set a rent that is fair for all parties.

Augusta County Farmland Leasing Workshop

Augusta County Farmland Leasing Workshop The use of leases in farm transition and estate planning were discussed. Conservation programs and the message of how a long-term lease is important to promote good stewardship was also discussed.