Hudson Awarded Clean Water Farm Award

2015 Clean Water Farm Award-Billy Hudson
Billy Hudson (center) and his wife Kathy are awarded the 2015 Clean Water Farm Award from Michael Tabor (right), Conservation Technician for the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District

Billy Hudson, a beef farmer from Redwood, was recently awarded the 2015 Clean Water Farm Award from the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District for his extensive efforts to improve soil health and water quality.

Hudson successfully manages a beef operation, consisting of 60 head of cattle on 70 acres of pasture, 75 acres of hay land and 122 acres of cropland.

Hudson’s conservation efforts include excluding all surface water and nearly 95 percent of the forest land from livestock, installing cross fencing to allow and promote rotational grazing, established a grazing plan, maintains hay and pasture land in accordance with NRCS forage/biomass planting specification, constructed a roofed heavy use area to be used as a sacrifice area and winter feed facility, no-till planting all crops and implements on-farm generated manure in accordance with a certified nutrient management plan.

These best management practices (BMPs) ensure Hudson is receiving a high level of productivity from all areas of the farm:  livestock, crop, hay and pasture while minimizing any potential negative environmental impact.

Excluding livestock from surface water by creating a 35 foot buffer, natural vegetation is free to grow providing stream bank stabilization that decreases water temperatures that is favorable to aquatic species.  This BMP assists with preventing bacteria from animal waste that would have been directly deposited by livestock.  Fencing out livestock from the woodland areas, wildlife habitats flourish.

Implementing rotational grazing and forage/biomass planting, the hay/pasture land is greatly improved while preventing overgrazing, which could lead to erosion and negative impacts on livestock health.  Livestock are able to obtain a clean water source through the use of ground water troughs.

The roofed heavy use area enables Hudson to feed his cattle during the winter months while extensively reducing damage to the land caused by concentrated feeding or heavy equipment moving through the fields.  The collected livestock waste can then be reapplied to the land in accordance with the established nutrient management plan.

To retain nutrients, reduce erosion and improve soil tilth, Hudson implements a no-till policy for all crop fields and utilizes a winter cover crop.  This BMP enables crop fields to be more productive, requiring less input and retaining more moisture.

Hudson’s efforts and willingness to work with state and federal agencies, he has not only worked to reduce or prevent potential negative environmental impacts but has enhanced the environmental quality of his farm and surrounding area.



2016 Youth Conservation Camp – Applications Being Accepted

The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District is offering scholarship(s) to a limited number of qualified applicant(s) within Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke to attend an expense paid, week-long conservation camp at Virginia Tech.  Camp dates are Sunday, July 10 through Saturday, July 16, 2016.  Soil and Water Conservation officials from the local, state and federal levels and Virginia Tech faculty members work together to conduct the camp.

Applicants must be in grades 9 through 12 of the 2015-2016 academic school year.  Twelfth graders who graduate from high school in May, June, July or August 2016 are eligible to attend.  Previous youth conservation campers cannot attend.  Please contact Kathy Smith, Program Manager/Education Coordinator at or (540) 483-5341 ext. 117.

Click on these two icons to view this year’s camp highlights and 2016 YCC application: 2016 Camp Highlights-2 & 2016 YCC ApplicationYCC Group Picture

The 2016 Youth Conservation Camp applications are to be received by the Blue Ridge District office no later than by Monday, April 18, 2016.

The scholarship winner(s) will be notified by the district as soon as possible.

Submitted applications will be reviewed and screened by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship Committee. Upon notification, the winner(s) will be required to send $75.00 to the Blue Ridge SWCD.  This $75 will be fully refunded upon completion of the camp and a brief report to the directors about their camp adventures.  Travel to and from the camp is the responsibility of the student.


Prepare to Draw: 2016 NACD Youth Poster Contest

2016 NACD Poster Contest Logo “WE ALL NEED TREES”

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and the NACD Auxiliary are excited to be sponsoring the 2016 youth poster contest.  This year’s educational and contest theme is “We All Need Trees”.

Winning entries will be selected by your local conservation district and sent to the state level for judging.  State winner entries will then be sent on to the national level, where one overall winner will be selected by January 31, 2017.  the winning poster will be used for local and state level promotion materials. Again this year, monetary prizes will be awarded to the NACD Auxiliary and the Albert I. Pierce Foundation.

*     $200 for 1st place National Winners

*     $150 for 2nd Place National Winners

*     $100 for 3rd Place National Winners

Send your entries to your local conservation district:  visit to find your local conservation district and visit for full contest rules and details.

For those living in Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties or City of Roanoke, your district is the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District. Click on 2016 Flyer_Template_We_all_need_trees_NACD to complete your 2016 NACD youth poster contest application. Check out these additional resources from the National Association of Conservation Districts:  Booklet_Objectives_WeAllNeedTrees(c)2015NACD and  EdGuide_WeAllNeedTrees_NACD(c)2015Ver1)

College Scholarships Available-Apply Now!

graduation_clipart[1]The VASWCD Educational Foundation scholarship program promotes the education of Virginia citizens in technical fields with a natural resource conservation and environmental protection emphasis. The program provides financial support to students majoring in or showing a strong desire to major in a course curriculum related to natural resource conservation and/or environmental studies. Annually the Foundation provides four $1000 statewide scholarships in addition to the many local SWCD scholarship opportunities.

2016 Prospective scholarship candidates – Individual applicants must be full-time students enrolled in or who have applied to a college freshman level curriculum. Applicants shall document a class ranking in the top 20% of his or her graduating class or a 3.0 or greater Grade Point Average or appropriate equivalent of individual scholastic achievement.  The applicant’s most recent official high school transcript must accompany the application. A copy of a school transcript will not be accepted.  Applicants shall demonstrate active interest in conservation.

We encourage applicants who were high school seniors in 2015 to apply again in 2016 as scholarship guidelines allow those “applying to or enrolled in a freshman college curriculum” to be considered.

For those residing in Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties or the City of Roanoke, contact the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District. VASWCD applications are due to the Blue Ridge SWCD  by Monday, February 15, 2016 at the close of business and must follow our deadline, guidelines and restrictions. The Blue Ridge SWCD’s Scholarship Committee will review all qualifying applications then make their recommendations to the Blue Ridge SWCD Board of Directors for their approval.  All decisions made by the Blue Ridge SWCD Board of Directors will be final. To determine your local SWCD contact VASWCD staff at 804-559-0324 or reference the SWCD directory.

The 2016 Scholarship Application is available for download here 2016 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application




Celebrating Dedicated Service

 2015 Daphne -40 Year Service Award.docx                                                                              Patricia R. Hodges2015 Pat -30 Year Service Award.docx

Daphne W. Jamison (center stage)

Both Jamison and Hodges were recognized at the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation District’s Annual Meeting held at the Richmond Omni for their dedicated service and are natives of Franklin County.  Since 1975, Jamison has served as a Director, fulfilling many roles for the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District for forty years and is currently serving as Chairman. In the past she has served as President of the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts and presently representing Area V on the Virginia Soil & Water Board. Jamison is a retired teacher with Roanoke County Schools and resides in Smith Mountain Lake with her husband Ron.

Hodges has been serving the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District since 1985 as Secretary/Treasurer. Throughout the past thirty years, she has been recognized as achieving “Conservationist Level” by the Virginia Association of Conservation District Employees and has served as the Secretary of Area V by the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts. Mrs. Hodges is active in her community and resides in Rocky Mount with her husband Fred.

2015 Fall Tumbler Style Compost Workshops

Compost Tumbler-Feb 2012Cost:  $90 per class
Dates:  Thursday, September 17th, 5:30pm-7:30pm @ Essig Recreation Center (Session 1)

Thursday, October 22nd, 5:30pm – 7:30pm @ Essig Recreation Center (Session 2)

Thursday, November 12th, 10:00am – 11:30am @Coopers Cove Community Center (Session 3)


Registration:  Contact Franklin County Parks & Recreation at or call

at (540) 483-9293


Note:  Items to bring to make your Tumbler-style Compost Workshop experience more convenient:  Power Drill,

drill bits to drill pilot and air holes: 3/32″, 1/4″, 1/2″, & 1″, Philips head drill bit for wood screws, 7/16″ wrench, measuring tape, transportation to haul finished product to desired destination (3.5′ L x 31″ W x 4.6′ H) and minimal skill and plenty of patience:)


2015-2016 Ag BMP Applications Now Being Accepted

Blue-Ridge-Logo-2.jpg            The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District announces it will be accepting applications for assistance with installation of agricultural best management practices (BMPs) that are designed to conserve soil and protect water quality. With the beginning of our new fiscal year on July 1, 2015 limited funding is available to assist producers with installing agriculture best management practices. Applications for assistance will be taken from Thursday August 20, 2015 through close of business on Friday September 18, 2015 at 4:30 p.m.  Producers considering signing up for Agriculture BMP Cost-Share are encouraged to do so within these dates. Since funding is limited, all applications will be ranked for prioritization and approved accordingly. No application is guaranteed to be funded and an application must be approved before implementation. Many of the eligible conservation practices can be combined with other conservation programs offered through the USDA. If any cost-share funds are available after the first sign up round a second sign up round may be available at a later date. The 2015-2016 VACS BMP Cost Share program has been revised so that the Stream Exclusion with Grazing Land Management (SL-6) BMP is eligible for 80% cost share with a $70,000.00 cap. Other practices available include, but are not limited to the following:

AFORESTATION OF CROP, HAY AND PASTURE LAND   (FR-1) STREAM EXCLUSION WITH GRAZING LAND MANAGEMENT   (SL-6) HARVESTABLE COVER CROP   (SL-8H) NON HARVESTABLE COVER CROP   (SL-8B) LEGUME BASED COVER CROP   (WQ-4) HIGH RESIDUE MINIMUM SOIL DISTURBANCE (NO-TILL) SYSTEM   (SL-15A,SL-15B, CCI-CNT) NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES   (NM-1A, NM-3C, NM-4) RIPARIAN VEGETATIVE BUFFERS   (FR-3, WQ-1) ANIMAL WASTE CONTROL PRACTICES   (WP-4, WP-4B) For more information regarding water quality and erosion control BMP’s please contact P.W. Morgan, Senior Conservation Specialist, at (540)-483-5269 Ext 115 or Michael Tabor at (540) 483-5341 ext. 122.