BOTETOURT – The Mountain Castles Soil & Water Conservation District (MCSWCD) presented Paxton Montgomery of Eagle Rock with the Botetourt County Conservation Farmer of the Year Award during its annual award recognition program.
Alan Lugar of the Sinking Creek area was the 2009 Conservation Farmer of the Year from Craig County.
Montgomery’s farm is located on the banks of the James River near Narrow Passage and includes 65 acres of pasture and 151 acres of woodland, which supports 20 cow-calf pairs.
In addition to the James River, whose water eventually flows into the Chesapeake Bay, the farm has a native trout stream flowing through it. Montgomery installed water troughs and fencing, under a Grazing Land Protection Best Management Practice, to protect the water quality in both of these streams.
MCSWCD also awarded several scholarship recipients during the annual awards recognition program in December at the Fincastle Firehouse.
Those present included landowners and farmers in Botetourt and Craig Counties, Virginia Department of Forestry staff, Virginia Cooperative Extension Service personnel, Farm Service Agency staff, and the board of directors and staff of MCSWCD.
Jeff Henderson, MCSWCD board of directors chairman introduced several special guests at the dinner and the MCSWCD staff: Katherine Meadows, office coordinator; Marlon Old, Ag BMP technician; and Erica Moore, TMDL Tech/Education coordinator. Other members of the board include Preston Wickline, vice-chairman; Michael Beahm, treasurer and associate director; Andy Allen, VCE, appointed director; John Eakin, Bill MacIntosh and John Seibel, at-large appointee.
The 2009 Youth Camp Scholarships were awarded to Kristyn L. Bandy, Jerod P. Myers and Jordan A. Saville Jr., all students at James River High School. Their scholarships allowed them to attend a week-long camp at Virginia Tech. They narrated a slide show of their activities at the camp.
The 2009 G. P. Todd Scholarship winner was Katherine E. Trainque of Craig County, who attends Averett University.
Two Harold Entsminger Scholarships were awarded in 2009 to Botetourt County residents. Sarah C. Edwards and Kaitlyn R. Meadows both are enrolled in Animal and Poultry Sciences program at Virginia Tech.
The recipient of the 2009 Forestry Award was the Beaudoin property in Craig County. The property contains 141 acres and is located in the Red Brush area. Projects included the development of several five-acre wildlife food plots as well as two small ponds. Mike Beaudoin accepted the Outstanding Forest Steward sign to be displayed at the entrance to the property.
Alan Lugar’s farm in Craig County consists of 150 acres of cleared land and 50 acres of woodland. A Sub-Drive constant pressure water system was installed on this farm in 2009 as part of a Grazing Land Protection Best Management Practice, to provide water for Lugar’s cow/calf herd and to protect water quality in the nearby Sinking Creek.
Mountain Castles SWDC is a political subdivision of state government that uses local, state, federal and private resources to promote conservation. Mountain Castles SWCD works with local landowners in Botetourt and Craig Counties to implement a variety of conservation programs. Every farm is unique, and the staff at Mountain Castles is trained to work with landowners to develop a conservation plan that fits each property and farming operation.
Anyone interested in learning how conservation practices will benefit their farm should contact the Mountain Castles SWCD at 977-2698, Ext. 3. Those practices include stream exclusion fencing, cross fencing, woodland protection fencing, well drilling, spring development, pumping equipment, reservoirs, pipeline, watering facilities, stream crossings, winter feeding pads, waste control facilities, establishing riparian buffers (tree planting), stream bank stabilization, and sinkhole protection and cleanout.
Area landowners may also contact their local Virginia Cooperative Extension office for information. The phone number in Craig County is 864-5812, and the phone number for the Botetourt office is 473-8260.