Charlotte County’s Barrons recognized for exemplary conservation practices

Published 6:56 am Tuesday, January 5, 2016

In Charlotte County, Lorrie and David Barron have expanded their farm beyond the traditional tobacco-growing operation typical of the region. They’re growing blackberries using innovative irrigation methods and benefitting native pollinators in the process.

In Louisa County, Albert McGhee Jr. has invested significant time and money on a centuries-old family farm to ensure his livestock have minimal impact on nearby creeks and streams.

And on the Eastern Shore, Steve Sturgis is using precision technologies to apply soil amendments in just the right amounts, reducing the risk of over application that could affect the many nearby streams and creeks that drain to the Chesapeake Bay.

These farmers are among the 10 recognized this week with a Virginia Clean Water Farm Grand Basin Award. The awards are given each year to farmers or farm owners who are doing their part to protect soil and water resources. One winner is selected from each of Virginia’s 10 major river basins.

The program is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation in partnership with Virginia’s 47 soil and water conservation districts. The awards were presented Dec. 7 during the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual meeting in Richmond.

“These farms represent the best in conservation farming in Virginia,” said DCR Director Clyde Cristman. “By voluntarily implementing practices such as stream fencing, cover crops, riparian buffers, nutrient management plans and more, these producers are not only improving conditions on their properties, but they’re also improving conditions for people who live downstream.”

1. Roanoke River Basin

David and Lorrie Barron

Poplar Grove and Wildwood Berries and Produce, Charlotte County

Nominated by the Southside Soil and Water

Conservation District

2. Chowan River Basin

Jeff and Liz Parrish

W.J. Farms, Lunenburg County

Nominated by the Southside Soil and Water

Conservation District

3. Big Sandy-Upper Tennessee River Basin

Justin and Lori McClellan

Meadowbrook Farm, Smyth County

Nominated by the Evergreen Soil and Water

Conservation District

4. Coastal Basin

Steve W. Sturgis

Tri-S Farms, Northampton County

Nominated by the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District

5. James River Basin

Robert “Bobby” M. Jones

Poor House Dairy, Prince Edward County

Nominated by the Piedmont Soil and Water

Conservation District

6. New River Basin

Matthew, Chase and Don Heldreth

Heldreth Farm, Wythe County

Nominated by the Big Walker Soil and Water

Conservation District

7. Potomac River Basin

Vince and Sharon DiRenzo

North Fork Fields, Loudoun County

Nominated by the Loudoun Soil and Water

Conservation District

8. Rappahannock River Basin

Dr. Robert D. Wilbanks

Wilbanks Farm, Orange County

Nominated by the Culpeper Soil and Water

Conservation District

9. Shenandoah River Basin

James and Amanda Holsinger

Holsinger Homeplace Farms, Rockingham County

Nominated by the Shenandoah Soil and Water

Conservation District

10. York River Basin

Albert J. McGhee Jr.

Vivian Scott Richardson Sr. Memorial Farm, Louisa