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Conservation efforts awarded

The Piedmont Soil and Water Conservation District (PSWCD) held its annual conservation awards banquet Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Mullins-Starke Camp in Crewe.

The district recognized local farmers and educators who have shown a commitment to natural resource conservation.

The farmers who received awards—John “Jeb” Hines, John Shepherd and Logan and Winston Vaughan—have implemented best management practices on their farms to improve soil and water quality. Such practices include fencing livestock out of streams, practicing rotational grazing, planting a cover crop in between seasonal crops, utilizing nutrient management plans, intercepting roof runoff and planting tree buffers around waterways to filter and reduce runoff.

Jeb Hines is a beginning farmer who has adopted best management practices at three of his beef cattle operations in Prince Edward and Nottoway counties.

John Shepherd, a Nottoway County farmer, has grown his small grain farming operation to include more than 2,600 acres where he utilizes precision agriculture technology to protect his soil and water.

Logan and Winston Vaughan are brothers who operate two farms in Amelia where they raise beef cattle, row crops and timber and have implemented best management practices on approximately 5,971 acres of farm and timberland.

Dr. Kathy Gee, Longwood University environmental science professor, stormwater engineer and winner of the Conservation Educator Award, partners with PSWCD staff to get her students on farms to see water quality best management practices in action. Dr. Gee employs hands-on learning in her courses to allow students to experience what they are learning to real-life situations.