BMP Applications Now Being Accepted for 2014-2015

P.W.The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation district is currently accepting applications for assistance with installation of agricultural best management practices (BMP) that are designed to conserve soil and protect water quality.

The new fiscal year began July1, 2014, and agriculture producers who are considering signing up for assistance this year are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. All practices must be approved prior to implementation and are subject to prioritized ranking for approval.

Cover Crop applications must be submitted no later than Friday, August 29th.

Many of the eligible conservation practices can be combined with other conservation programs offered by USDA. If cost-share is still available after this first sign up round, a second sign-up round of cost-share may be offered at a later date. The 2014-2015 Agriculture cost-share allocation has been revised to include 100 percent cost-share for Grazing Land Protection (SL-6); however, note below is not a comprehensive listing of available practices:

Reforestation of Erodible Crop & Pasture: (FR-1)
Grazing Land Management (SL-9)
Grazing Land Protection (SL-6): stream exclusion, water fountains, well, pipeline and fencing
Harvestable Cover Crop (SL-8H): $20/acre and requires a Nutrient Management Plan
Non-Harvestable Cover Crop (SL-8B): $15-$48/acre and requires a Nutrient Management Plan
Continuous No-Till: (SL-15A, SL-15B & CCI-CNT)
Nutrient Management (certain practices): NM-3C, NM-4 & NM-1A
Riparian Vegetative Buffers: (FR-3, WQ-1 & SL-7)

For more information regarding water quality and erosion control best management practices, please contact P.W. Morgan (Senior Conservation Specialist) at (540) 483-5341 ext. 115.

Agricultural Fair is Coming to Town!

The Franklin County Agricultural Fair will officially return September 10-13, 2014 at the Franklin County Recreation Park, 2150 Sontag Road in Rocky Mount.  The family friendly event will include midway rides provided Brinkley Entertainment, Inc., a livestock show, student SkillsUSA competitions, live entertainment, food and merchandise vendors, and much more. Contact: or at


FC Ag Fair Logo

Spring Has Sprung! Check out the District’s Newsletter

With spring finally upon us, the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District has been busy bringing you updates.  Check out our 2014-Spring Newsletter featuring “Awards & Recognitions”, 2013 Blue Ridge SWCD Clean Water Award recipient, new NRCS District Conservationist, Sustainable Ag Tour, Rain Barrel & Tumbler-style Compost Workshops and more…2014 New Dawn Acres Farm-Summer Pate

Get the Scoop: Learn Why Composting is Beneficial

Compost Picture 2Why Compost? What is Compost?  How to Compost?  What are “Greens” and “Browns”?  What should be composted and what should not be composted?  What factors affect compost rate?   What is compost used for anyway?   Each barrel holds approximately 53 gallons, 42 inches in height and 24 inches in diameter. Click here  2014 Compost Workshops-VCE for Feb-May to register for one of our Tumbler-Style Compost Workshops. Those that pre-register one week in advance of desired workshop date (including payment of $90) will be eligible to attend a Tumbler-style Compost Workshop on a first-come-first serve basis. Class size:  minimum is 3 and maximum is 6 registered participants. At the end of this workshop you will have constructed your very own Tumbler-style Composter (Make, Take & Turn).

Items to bring to make your Tumbler-Style Compost Workshop experience more convenient:  Power Drill, Drill bits to drill pilot & air holes:  3/32”, ¼”, ½”, & 1”, Phillips head drill bit for wood screws, 7/16” wrench, measuring tape, transportation to haul finished product (3.5’ L x 31” W x 4.6’ H) and minimal skill and plenty of patience!








Spring Into Action & Attend A Rain Barrel Workshop!

Rain Barrel PictureCombining the use of rain barrels with appropriate plant selection and mulching promotes water conservation.  Rain barrels benefit your home, garden and community. Each barrel holds approximately 53 gallons, 42 inches in height and 24 inches in diameter.  Click here 2014 Rain Barrel Flyer Workshop Schedule-Feb to May to register for one of our Rain Barrel Workshops. Those that pre-register one week in advance of desired workshop date (including payment of $50) will be eligible to attend a Rain Barrel Workshop on a first-come-first serve basis.

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!

Smokey The Bear

No Burning Before 4 p.m. Until April 30

The Commonwealth’s 4 p.m. Burning Law goes into effect Feb. 15th – the start of spring fire season in Virginia. The law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day until April 30th if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brush-land or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.

“This law is one of the most effective tools we have to prevent wildfires,” said John Miller, director of resource protection at the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). “Each late winter and early spring, downed trees, branches and leaves become ‘forest fuels’ that increase the danger of a forest fire. By adhering to the law and burning between 4 p.m. and midnight only, people are less likely to start a fire that threatens them, their property and the forests of Virginia.”

In addition to open burning, debris burning in metal barrels has been the source of wild-land fires this year.

“If flames and sparks are flying out of the barrel, that increases the chance they’ll land in dry grass or leaves and start a wild fire,” said Paul Reier, VDOF technician in James City, Charles City and New Kent counties. “Be sure the barrel is secure and won’t tip over, causing the fire to spill out. Stay with the debris barrel while the fire is burning, and be sure to properly and safely dispose of the ashes.” Reier adds that metal barrels should be in good condition – not weak with rust or full of holes. A mesh wire screen, with openings of ¼” or less, should cover the top of the barrel.

A violation of this law is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. In addition to the criminal violation, those who allow a fire to escape are liable for the cost of suppressing the fire as well as any damage caused to others’ property.

To learn more about how to protect yourself and your property, visit

2014 Youth Conservation Camp at VA Tech-Apply Now!

YCC Group PictureAre you searching for a week of adventures such as hiking to the Cascades Waterfall, Fisheries Management, scavenger hunting using GIS technology, canoeing, volleyball, etc. this summer?  Look no further, the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District is accepting applications to attend the 2014 Youth Conservation Camp at Virginia Tech this summer from July 13-19. At least one full scholarship (valued at $550) to cover the registration fee will be made available from the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District from a qualified applicant residing in the Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties or City of Roanoke area.  Applicants must be currently enrolled in grades 9-12 during the 2013-2014 academic school year.  Twelfth graders who graduate in May, June, July or August 2014 are eligible to attend.  Previous campers may not attend.
For 38 years, the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts has sponsored a week long summer conservation camp for Virginia high school students on the campus of Virginia Tech. The program brings together about 70 interested students for a week of learning about Virginia’s natural resources from conservation professionals and faculty from Virginia Tech. Most of the instruction is hands-on and outdoors.
To apply for 2014 Youth Conservation Camp, click on the 2014 Camp Application & Highlights icon below or contact Kathy B. Smith (Program Manager/Education Coordinator) at (540) 483-5341 ext. 117.  Mail completed application to:  Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District, 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA  24151. The 2014 Youth Conservation Camp Application deadline for the Blue Ridge SWCD is April 17, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. 2014 Camp Application & Highlights
 Find your Local Soil & Water Conservation District here.
Youth Conservation Camp is open to all Virginia students enrolled in High School for the current year.  See camp pictures and testimonials from students on the VASWCD Facebook page. Contact your local Soil & Water Conservation District or Beth Sokolik at with questions or for additional camp information.
Youth Conservation Camp Pictures from prior years can be found on the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts Facebook page.  ‘Like’ our page for photos and updates!

$1,000 College Scholarship Available Through Blue Ridge SWCD-Apply Now!


The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District is offering high school seniors and college freshmen planning a career in natural resource conservation or related field, (in the areas of Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke) the opportunity to apply for a $1,000 Leo Painter College Scholarship.

The award winning application of this scholarship (Leo Painter Scholarship) will be submitted to the 2014 VASWCD Educational Foundation, Inc. Scholarship Awards Program for an opportunity to be awarded an additional $1,000 scholarship out of a total of four $1,000 scholarships available state wide (through the VASWCD Educational Foundation, Inc.).

To apply for this college scholarship opportunity for promoting the education of Virginia citizens in technical fields with natural resource conservation and environmental protection, click on the 2014 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application icon below.  Complete this application in full and submit it to the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA  24151 no later than March 10, 2014 (Monday) at 4:30 p.m.

Submitted applications will be reviewed and screened by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship Committee.  All applications and information contained therein shall remain confidential. Nominations from the Committee will be submitted to the VASWCD Educational Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors for final approval.

All programs and services of the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District and the  Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation District’s Educational Foundation, Inc. are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, marital status, or disability.  All submitted paperwork is confidential and becomes the property of the VASWCDEF.

2014 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application

WANTED: 2014 NACD/VASWCD Poster Contestants for Grades K-12

Dig Deeper IconAttention!

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District is seeking creative poster submissions for the 2014 NACD/VASWCD Poster Contest. This year’s theme is “Dig Deeper: Mysteries in the Soil”. The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District serves the following areas: Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke. Please encourage students in grades K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12 to create a “Dig Deeper: Mysteries in the Soil” themed poster along with a completed application (refer to attached entry form and 2014 NACD Poster Contest Rules & Resources). Girl Scouts have the opportunity to earn a Girl Scout VASWCD Poster Contest Patch. Completed applications must be submitted to the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District no later than Monday, October 6, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

The annual NACD/VASWCD Poster Contest provides kindergarten through twelfth grade students an opportunity to convey their thoughts about soil, water and related natural resource issues through art. It also highlights the educational outreach efforts of conservation districts and their state conservation associations, auxiliaries and agencies. To locate your local district visit District winners advance to the state level and state winners advance to the National Contest. National winners are recognized each year at the NACD Annual Meeting.

2014 Poster Contest Local Entry Form (2)

Jamison Reappointed by Governor Bob McDonnell

Daphne-2010Daphne W. Jamison was recently reappointed by Governor Bob McDonnell to serve on the Virginia Soil & Water Conservtion Board. The Virginia Soil & Water Conservation Board (VASWCB) works with the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) to guide the delivery of soil and water conservation services to citizens of the Commonwealth. The Board’s repsonsibilities include: oversight and support of Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts regarding non-point source pollution control programs, including Resource Management Plans and oversight of dam safety and floodplain management regulations. Mrs. Jamison is a retired teacher with Roanoke County Schools, serves in Franklin County as Chairperson of the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District and resides in Wirtz with her husband Ron.