Clean Water Farm Awards Given at Local Banquet
Mountain Castles Soil and Water Conservation District (MCSWCD) held their annual awards presentation banquet on December 8th 2011 at the Fincastle Firehouse. Those present included landowners and farmers in Botetourt and Craig counties, Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel, VA Department of Forestry staff, VA Cooperative Extension personnel, Farm Service Agency staff, County and State officials, and staff and Board of Directors of MCSWCD.
Jeff Henderson, MCSWCD Board Chairman, opened the program by welcoming everyone and introduced Harold P. (Bubby) Entsminger, who asked the blessing of the mouth watering meal catered by the Mission Development Team of the Mill Creek Baptist Church in Fincastle.
The evening continued as Henderson then introduced several special guests as well as the MCSWCD staff: David Carter, Office Coordinator; Marlon Old, Ag BMP Technician; and Erica Moore, TMDL Tech/Education Coordinator. In addition to Henderson, other members of the 2011 Board include Preston Wickline, Vice Chairman; Michael Beahm, Treasurer, Associate Director; Andy Allen, VCE; John Eakin, Craig Co.; Ann Harrell, Craig Co.; and Walter Nelson, At Large appointee.
The awards presentations then commenced and were given to the following:
Kirk and Kora White, both seniors at Craig County High School, were recognized as the 2011 Youth Conservation Camp (YCC) scholarship recipients. The District covers the cost for two local high school students to attend the week-long, all inclusive experience based on the Virginia Tech campus that is organized by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Applications for the July 2012 YCC scholarships are now being accepted. For more information about this opportunity or others, including how to apply for our local college scholarships, please check the Mountain Castles’ website at http://soil-water.org/ or contact the District directly.
The 2011 George Todd Memorial scholarship for a Craig County High School senior or graduate in his or her first year of higher education was co-awarded to Sarah Lipps and Daniel Alley, both in their first year at Virginia Tech. The 2011 Harold P. Entsminger Scholarships for Botetourt County students were awarded to Jordan Saville, graduate of James River High School and current attendee of Dabney S. Lancaster’s Forestry Program and Luke Sevison, a Lord Botetourt High School Graduate currently attending Virginia Western.
A special recognition was awarded to retiring Director Mr. John Seibel. John was first sworn into the elected position representing Botetourt County in March of 1997, and subsequently served the community as an appointed, At-Large Director. John was a pioneer of intensive rotational grazing systems for beef cattle that he managed on Oxbow farm located on the James River in Botetourt County. The Seibel family has protected Oxbow as working farm through a Conservation Easement. We are grateful to John and his wife Hallie for their years of dedication to MCSWCD, agriculture in our area, and the community as a whole. The Seibels are true stewards of the land.
The 2011 Clean Water Farm Award for Craig County was presented to Paris Parsons, owner and operator of Little Mountain Farm. Mr. Parsons participated in the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMP) Cost-Share Program by installing an SL-6 Grazing Land Protection BMP on his farm. This BMP is intended to improve and protect the quality of the water flowing through this farm and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.
The 2011 Clean Water Farm Award for Botetourt County was presented to Robert “Dizzy” Garten, owner and operator of Glen Valley Farm. Mr. Garten participated in the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMP) Cost-Share Program by installing an SL-6 Stream Exclusion with Grazing Land Management BMP on his farm. This BMP is intended to improve and protect the water quality of the James River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.
Selections for the Clean Water Farm Awards were based on the implementation and maintenance of the Best Management Practices and conservation programs that were initiated on each farm. Each winner was presented a plaque and a sign to be placed at the farm entrance, in recognition of their conservation efforts.