Tidewater SWCD Clean Water Farm Awards

The Clean Water Farm/Bay Friendly Award is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. This award is given to recognize and thank Virginia farmers who implement nutrient management plans and are exemplary in their protection of the state’s soil and water quality. These individuals are role models who encourage others’ stewardship. Farmers spend time, energy and hard-earned money carrying out conservation practices that benefit many people. They themselves benefit because nutrients, pesticides, and chemicals they invest in remain with the land where they’re most productive. The soil necessary to grow crops also stays put because of conservation planting techniques. When these potential pollutants are kept out of surface and ground waters, citizens benefit by having cleaner water for drinking, recreation, industry, wildlife and transportation. On a local level, each District can nominate one farmer per  river basin  to win a certificate of recognition signed by the governor and a sign to post at their farm for this award .  Above and beyond the local award, one farmer or farm from each of Virginia’s 10 major river basins is chosen for outstanding management that improves water quality. These 10 winners receive an additional award presented at a special recognition ceremony, one winner will then be chosen as a state winner.  

Congratulations Wayne H. Bray & Sons Inc.

Chesapeake Bay Coastal Watershed Clean Water Farm Award Winner !

The Tidewater Soil and Water Conservation District proudly honors Wayne H. Bray & Sons Inc. as the Chesapeake Bay Coastal Watershed Clean Water Farm Award Winner. Wayne and Jason Bray are a multi-generation farming family in Middlesex County. Currently the operation includes corn, soybeans, wheat, and barley for grain crops and beef cattle as well. When asked about farming, Mr. Wayne Bray said, “Anything we can do to keep the soil in place benefits the farm but also the aquatic health of all downstream as well.” Between small grains and cover crops, all grain acres are covered with a growing plant year around to protect the soil and benefit soil health.  The Brays have practiced continuous no-till in their operation for many years and many fields have filter strips.  The Brays have noticed tremendous reductions in erosion with the combination of these practices.   They also use current precision and variable rate technology for the application of nutrients which increases crop production while also reducing runoff.  Their operation also includes cattle and they completed an extensive Stream Exclusion project recently and had already completed another phase a few years ago.  This involved installing significant lengths of pipeline and fencing to protect thousands of feet of streamline and a pond with wide natural buffers.  Now instead of cattle accessing the natural waterways, they have continuous water from the installation of several water troughs.  This also allows for pasture rotation to minimize over grazing and reduce erosion.The Brays strive to educate themselves on new strategies and ideas to assist in reduction of input and increase the soil health and crop yields.  They are willing to try new things and have been especially active in promoting the use of different species and crop variations for effective cover cropping.