Story Creek Farm Receives Clean Water Farm Award

Pictured left to right: Henry Jamison, Clinton Jamison, and Michael Tabor (Conservation Technician for Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District)

In 1981 Henry Jamison purchased a dairy farm in western Franklin County. Over the next 33 years he would work to improve the farm, adopting techniques that would allow him to grow the business while being a responsible landowner, protecting the environment, and following a basic principal passed down through the generations of his family, that if one was going to do something, be it farming, or anything else it should be done correctly without having to rely on the help or assistance of others. In short, if you weren’t able to do it right, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

By the 1990’s Henry had removed the old Bank Barn and replaced it with a free stall barn and integrated flush system for a more thorough cleaning of the barn more effectively dealing with the waste and providing a cleaner environment for the cattle. Two pits would be set up to receive all waste and with one being higher than the other, act as a solids separator again to better treat the manure. Throughout this time the herd was being increased from about 40 when the farm was purchased in 1981 to around 60. As additional barns were constructed, gutters and downspouts would be installed to collect the roof runoff and collect it in the pit as well to further reduce erosion and any waste runoff.

Around 2007 the farm would move away from conventional tillage to No-Till and adopt the use of cover crops that continue today. In addition travel lanes would be installed allowing for the more efficient movement of cattle between pastures as they were divided for rotational grazing and reducing erosion. Efforts were made that very steep land would be primarily for grass, terraces installed to slow or divert any overland water flow and grass waterways installed and maintained in any crop field where there were noted concentrated flows.

In 2014 the farm would pass from Henry to his nephew Clinton who operates it today with a milk line that varies between the upper 80’s to mid-90’s, over double of the original milk line in 1981. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication that both Henry and Clinton have put into this operation. Today Clinton carries on the family tradition of doing things the right way because that is simply how that are supposed to be done.

Many of the practices started by Henry have been continued or expanded upon by Clinton. This includes excluding the livestock from all surface water, having both grass and wooded riparian buffers, utilizing soil test and plant sampling for more effective nutrient management and seeking out ways to expand the farm, hoping to one day have all the heifers over one year completely on pasture.

All of these conservation practices have been implemented not as a result of mandate but as a true voluntary effort on the part of Henry and Clinton because it was just the right thing to do. It wasn’t because they would receive cost share or a helping hand, but because they believed as a farmer they were beholden to the land and to their community. For them taking care of the environment and being an active participant in conservation is as much a part of farming as is feeding cattle, mowing hay, and planting crops.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *