Deborah Huso, Free Lance Writer for the Progressive Farmer Magazine called me back in July. “I’d like to do a story on stream fencing, the Farm Bill and conservation. Do you have any farmers in mind that I could interview”, she said. This was music to my ears.
I didn’t have to think twice. For solid conservation, big farming, honest to goodness hard-work mixed with humor I thought no further than my long time friend Gerald Garber of Cave View Farms in Weyers Cave, Virginia.
He and his partners Keith and Paul Wilson have shown that farmers really can make a profit and protect the environment. Deborah’s story came out this month in Progressive Farmer. She did a wonderful job getting all the facts right, mixing in some of Gerald’s classic humor and making education entertaining.
Cave View Farms was the “River Basin Grand Winner” for Virginia’s “Clean Water Farm Award” Program in 2010. In addition to the nutrient management, soil conservation and animal waste practices on the farm, all of the streams in Cave View Farms’ watershed are fenced from livestock. Yep, it’s all done. This is what needs to happen on all farms here in the Shenandoah Valley to remove the streams from the state’s dirty waters list or TMDL. Many people ask me, “Why don’t farmers just do it”? Click on this hot link to find out.
Farmers are half-way in achieving what they need to do to restore the Chesapeake Bay. We need to keep going. There are many programs that can help such as the “Governor’s 100% Program” in Virginia that reimburses 100% of the average cost to install fencing to exclude livestock from streams and all necessary watering facilities to assure livestock receive abundant water. The flagship program for livestock stream exclusion and forest buffers, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) will soon be open for sign-up. This program reimburses farmers 115% of the average costs and pays rent on the land that is excluded from livestock.
I’d like to thank Deborah Huso and Progressive Farmer Magazine for uplifting the efforts Cave View Farms have taken to improve their herd health, their streams and the Chesapeake Bay.
Those twenty-one states that filed suit against the EPA because the Bay states are working together for a restored Bay just don’t get it. We are making progress and the Bay is getting cleaner thanks to farmers like Gerald Garber and the Wilsons. Want to oppose the “War Against Restoring the Bay”? Click on that hot link to sign the petition.
To find out how you can help improve the natural resources on your land shoot me an email, I’ll be glad to help you. Or visit your local USDA Service Center or Soil and Water Conservation District office.
Stewardship happens through people.
Chuck Epes, with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation blogged about Cave View Farms and the Progressive Farmer article here.
Keep up the great work and shout it out as loud as you can. Clean water will someday be as precious as oil is today for some countries (and areas of North America) if we don’t continue to strengthen our efforts. And it’s not just farm practices that need to change. Call somebody in Charleston and ask them if they are drinking their tap water or eating fish out of their river.
Great article in Progressive Farmer. It’s wonderful to have Chesapeake Bay farmers talk about the benefits of stream restoration and conservation practices on animal health. Implementing conservation practices like stream exclusion and no-till farming can be a win for business and a win for local and Bay water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
Bravo to Progressive Farmer, Mr. Garber, and to you, Bobby. I hope I live long enough to see these practices implemented on every farm in Virginia, and let’s not forget that what all us urban dwellers do is a part of that too. We’re all tied together, soil, air, water, plants, animals, including humans…and every act influences all the others.
this is wonderful, Bobby! Progressive farmers, indeed; soldier on! PS- love the video of Jeanne feeding the calf!!! Too precious.
Thanks Natalie, good to hear from you.