American Farmland Trust - BMP Challenge- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- July, 2010
Ongoing test in the Shenandoah Valley
Click to View AFT BMP Challenge
WSI Information Sheet #2 on Transition to Grazing- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- March, 2010
Click to View WSI Information Sheet #2
WSI Information Sheet #1 on Managing P Based on Soil P Saturation- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- March, 2010
Click to View WSI Information Sheet #1 *Revised August 2011
WSI has put together some information on starter P fertilizer for corn- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Water Stewardship, Inc. (WSI) will partner with the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District (ESSWCD)- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Monday, November 11, 2013
Water Stewardship, Inc. (WSI) will partner with the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District (ESSWCD) on a 2013 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund Implementation grant titled "Virginia Bay Act Compliance and Water Quality Improvements."
The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, commonly known as the Bay Act in Virginia was adopted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988. The Act was designed to show that economic development and water quality protection were integrally related. Thus, the goal of the Act was the protection of the public interest in the Chesapeake Bay and associated waters.
The WSI /ESSWCD partnership presents a unique opportunity to expand WSI protocols to include compliance with the Bay Act while performing on-farm assessment and verification. WSI's Continuous Improvement Plans which are a road map for future water quality protection practices will be used not only to document current farm status but also what the needs are to attain Bay Act compliance.
This partnership plans to obtain information on 90 farms in the ESSWCD from Accomack and Northampton counties.
WSI to partner on a 2013 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Water Stewardship, Inc. (WSI) will be a partner on a 2013 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund Implementation grant.
The grant "Water, Food and Farm Commons: Collectively Improving Watershed Health and Nutrient Pollution across the Shenandoah and Rappahannock River Basins" is being led by Virginia Cooperative Extension in Harrisonburg, VA. The project seeks to reduce nutrient and sediment loads and enhance the ecological resilience of riparian areas and natural resources in the Shenandoah and Rappahannock River basins by finding common ground around water quality improvements, soil quality, and farm-to-table connections.WSI will assess and verify nutrient reduction on these farms and their potential impact on nutrient and sediment loads and develop individualized Continuous Improvement Plans (CIPs) for water quality improvement. They will also work with other project partners on whole-farm nutrient balances.
Other project partners include Friendly City Food Co-op, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Shenandoah Forum, Shenandoah Valley Food and Farm Work Group and the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition.
New Chesapeake Bay Trust Intern- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Monday, October 14, 2013
Ms. Stephanie Fong has been selected as a Chesapeake Conservation Corps intern to work with WSI for the next year. Ms. Fong is a recent graduate of UCLA with a degree in molecular biology, but her passions lie with plants and food.
Having graduated in three years she decided to fill her gap year (pre-graduate school year) to learn more about the potential environmental impacts of agriculture. During her time at Water Stewardship, she hopes to learn as much as she can about soil and water quality protection as well as environmental preservation policy. Specifically she will be working on a broad-range analysis of the amounts of excess phosphorus across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with emphasis on Maryland. Additionally, she will be refining and enhancing protocols for on-farm assessment and verification.
The Chesapeake Conservation Corps program is administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust and is designed to engage young adults in environmental and energy conservation projects, accomplishing bay restoration and developing valuable career skills at the same time. WSI is pleased to be one of the selected hosts for a Corps intern.
Upon completion of her year-long internship, she plans to attend graduate school. Stephanie can be contacted at StephanieF@WaterStewardshipInc.org.
Farm Tour - September 10, 2013 in Lurray, Virginia- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Tuesday, August 10, 2013
Three farms participating in the WSI assessment, verification and continuous improvement program will be highlighted in "A Vegetable Production, Marketing and Water Quality Program" tour starting at 9:00 AM. The tour is part of the "Creating a Culture of Conservation from Farm to Table for Water Quality and Agricultural Community Sustainability" project.There is no pre-registration required and no fee to attend the tour, a Page County grown lunch will be provided. For additional information refer to the tour flyer at:
Second participating farmer video- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Friday, June 13, 2013
Another "Creating a Culture of Conservation from Farm to Table for Water Quality and Agricultural Community Sustainability" This is the second participating farmer video.
David Sours of Public House Produce in Luray, Virginia is a participant in the Farm to Table project. David's runs a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation consisting of mixed produce and poultry. He sells through a farmer market and to local restaurants.
A video of his six acre farm operation can be viewed at:
Dale Gardner appointed to Sustainable Chesapeake Board- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Friday, April 26, 2013
Dale Gardner, WSI Chesapeake Agricultural Program Coordinator, was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for Sustainable Chesapeake. The mission of Sustainable Chesapeake is "Environmental solutions that benefit farms, urban neighborhoods and the Chesapeake Bay".
More information on Sustainable Chesapeake can be found at:http://www.sustainablechesapeake.org/contact.html
Creating a Culture of Conservation from Farm to Table for Water Quality and Agricultural Community Sustainability- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Friday, April 19, 2013
Jenny and Millard Driver of JMD Farm is located in Staunton, Virginia. The farm is a participant in the Farm to Table project. It is a mixed produce and animal operation. This includes grass-fed beef and lamb, wooded pork, and free range poultry.
A video of their operation can be viewed below:http://buylocalshenvalley.org/creating-a-culture-of-conservation-jenny-and-millard-driver-jmd-farm/
WSI Strategic Plan- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Monday, November 05, 2012
WSI has developed a new Strategic Plan as the organization moves forward.
On Farm Nutrient Balancing - Real Science, Real Solutions- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Friday, April 06, 2012
WSI was one of the sponsors for the On Farm Nutrient Balancing - Real Science, Real Solutions workshop held in Dayton, VA on March 15, 2012. The workshop featured Dr. Andrew Sharpley, world renowned specialist in manure and phosphorous from the University of Arkansas, and Dr. Rory Maguire, manure specialist from VA Tech, Chris Lawrence and Richard Fitzgerald from USDA-NRCS, and John Welsh from Virginia Cooperative Extension.
The day long workshop was well received by area farmers, agency staff and others. The overall theme of the talk was soil phosphorous and how best to manage phosphorous on a whole-farm basis.
A list of 8 practical BMPs for managing phosphorous was distributed by VA Tech. The recommended BMPs were:
- Soil Test - Test the soil to see what the level is now.
- Manure Test - Find out exactly how much nutrient material you're applying in manures
- Control Soil Erosion - Phosphorous tends to bind to soil particles, so moving toward reduced tillage can have an impact on phosphorous levels downstream.
- Grow Crops All Year Long - Any actively growing crop will uptake phosphorous and other nutrients, so strive to keep a crop on the field at all times.
- Evaluate Feed Rations - Any phosphorous fed in excess of dietary needs is excreted.
- Minimize Runoff and Sediment - Water entering feedlots and barnyards can be minimized, reducing runoff pollutants flowing from the area. Grass buffers can help trap excess nutrients.
- Develop a Plan - With variable soil test levels and variation in crop fields, planning is critical to making the most of manure nutrients. A Nutrient Management Plan focuses on crop field rotations and manure and chemical nutrients, and there are many people who are available to help write these plans. Soil tests, manure tests, and yield records are critical inputs into the plan.
- Spreader Calibration - Once you have your manure tested, calibrate your spreader or sprayer to ensure you're putting down the rate you intend to.
Dr. Sharpley provided an abundance of information on managing soil phosphorous. All three of his presentations and the presentations from all the speakers can be found at:http://offices.ext.vt.edu/rockingham/programs/anr/Crops/031512_pmeeting/onfarm_nutrient_balancing.html
For an additional overview and comments from the Shenandoah Valley Beef Cooperative on the meeting visit:
Virginia Farmers in the WSI Continuous Improvement Program Honored- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Friday, March 30, 2012
Jerry Turner who farms outside of Luray operates a 1,400 acre beef/poultry and hay farm has been proactive in the WSI program. He participates in transferring litter off-farm which has enabled him to reduce litter applications and thereby better control phosphorous buildup in his fields. He also has converted row crop acreage to permanent hay land which has positive impact on potential nutrient pollution.
West Branch Dairy is a dairy/poultry farm with hay and pasture lands. Like Mr. Turner, they have converted row crop acreage to alfalfa and used a nitrogen stabilizer on his remaining row crop acreage to reduce nitrogen application by about 20 pounds per acre. He has also performed stream tree planting for greater bank stabilization and has fenced cows out of the stream.
Both farms were part of the first project that WSI initiated in the Valley in 2008/2009.
The Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District promotes conservation of natural resources through education and a variety of programs including cost-share initiatives.
WSI Assessment and Verification Highlighted in USDA publication- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Friday, March 16, 2012
A recent USDA book Farm of the Future contains the results of an ecosystem assessment and verification performed by WSI using their protocols and approaches. The assessment and verification was performed on the Mudford Farm on the eastern shore of Maryland.
Farm of the Future profiles working farms, forests, and ranches that are participating in environmental markets or receiving payments for ecosystem services. With changes to management practices, these working lands generated new revenue from ecosystem services as a supplement to traditional income. It was produced by EcoAgriculture Partners with support from the USDA Office of Environmental Markets. Funding for the project and case studies was provided through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Farm of the Future project uses case studies and illustrations to document how five landowners changed their land management practices to provide water quality, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and carbon benefits - managing working lands to generate new revenue from ecosystem services as a supplement to traditional income. The project highlights lessons learned from these early experiences and some of the challenges and rewards of market-based conservation.
The Mudford Farm maintains corn, soybean, and wheat production on its most productive soils while restoring wetlands and wildlife habitat on marginal agricultural land. The farm's management strategy generates returns from a wetland mitigation bank, hunting permits, water quality enhancement, and traditional row crops.
More information about Farm for the Future can be found at the website: http://www.usda.gov/oce/environmental_markets/farm.htm
For more information about WSI's protocols for conducting assessment and verification contact any staff member
Volunteering at DC Central Kitchen- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Friday, February 03, 2012
On January 25, 2012, WSI and Virginia Tech staff involved in a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction grant "Creating a Culture of Conservation from Farm to Table" volunteered at the District of Columbia (DC) Central Kitchen. The DC Central Kitchen is an advocate for the use of local food and works closely with farmers in the Shenandoah Valley.
Participants peeled, chopped, sliced and diced their way through vast mounds of vegetables to be used that day in salads and other dishes. The group learned that besides the Kitchen's goal of helping in "Feeding the Soul of the City" their mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities as described below:DC Central Kitchen uses leftover food and local produce to fight hunger, improve public health, and put people back to work. Feeding the soul of Washington, DC since 1989, we now deliver 6,000 balanced meals every day to homeless shelters, afterschool programs, and other nonprofits, saving them millions of dollars in food costs annually. Essential to our meal production is the hard work of men and women enrolled in our acclaimed Culinary Job Training program. To date, this initiative has equipped more than 900 unemployed adults with histories of addiction, incarceration, and homelessness for new careers. Since the recession hit in 2008, these remarkable individuals have maintained a job placement rate above 90%. Our programs are funded in part by generous donors, including the Walmart Foundation, with which we have proudly partnered since 2008. But unlike a traditional charity, we also work to sustain ourselves through social enterprise. We generate revenue and advance our mission by supplying fresh produce to corner stores in low-income neighborhoods, serving healthy, scratch-cooked meals in public schools, and providing gourmet catering; each of these programs employ our culinary graduates at living wages. We are a nonprofit in the business of changing lives.
To learn more about DC Central Kitchen, visit www.dccentralkitchen.org
WSI Partner's with Virginia Tech and others on a Small Dairy Project Funded by a Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Grant- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced the recipients of grants for environmental projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
WSI is a partner on the Virginia Tech led project on "Transitioning Small Dairies to Phosphorous Balance".
The goal of the project is to provide tools, training, and incentives to facilitate the implementation of phosphorus-based nutrient management plans (NMPs) on dairy farms throughout Virginia. The project will focus on small dairies located in priority high-phosphorus yielding watersheds in the Shenandoah Valley including portions of Clarke, Warren, Rockingham, Augusta, Shenandoah, and Page counties.
The project will include a comprehensive approach to implementing phosphorus-based nutrient management plans on up to 50 small dairy farms in priority high-phosphorus yielding watersheds in the Shenandoah Valley using a strategy that benefits individual farmers and the industry as a whole. Project partners will deliver on-farm technical assistance including development of an individual, whole-farm continuous improvement plan (CIP) to achieve phosphorus balance over time, as well as financial incentives to install best management practices necessary to achieve this goal.
In addition, project partners will demonstrate and evaluate a mobile manure solids and nutrient removal system that can travel from farm to farm and remove up to 95 percent of the phosphorus, and 50 percent of the nitrogen from the waste stream of small dairy farms. Eight of the dairies with existing CIPs and 8 of the "new" dairies will undergo manure solids and nutrient removal using this system. Using this technology and transporting the material off-farm for 16 dairies will result in an estimated annual edge of stream reduction of 5,032 lbs nitrogen and 564 lbs phosphorus.
For more information on this project or any other project please contact any WSI staff member.
Farm Advisory Committee Annual Winter Meeting- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Monday, December 12, 2011
On December 6, 2011 the annual winter meeting of the WSI Farmer Advisory Committee (FAC) was held in Dayton, Virginia. The FAC consists of thirteen farmers who represent the diversity of Shenandoah Valley agriculture and who have participated in the WSI assessment, verification and continuous improvement program.
Among the topics under discussion were the findings from the completed WSI Pilot Project, current status of the Virginia Resource Management Plan legislation, and a number of new WSI projects underway.
There was also an interactive discussion of the impact of some BMPs on water quality. For example, applying fall manure to cover crops does not receive an efficiency estimate reduction in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model. Only cover crops that do not receive added nutrients in the fall are "credited" with a reduction. WSI is aware of the need to apply manure in the fall and will be working with appropriate Bay committees to be able to provide a reduction efficiency estimate.
WSI staff discussed a new landuse they created to capture denuded pasture areas and new BMPs to correct these areas. This landuse is not currently in the Bay Model but it represents a "real world" situation on many farms.
FAC members were very helpful in providing advice on how the upcoming biennial review of Continuous Improvement Plans for our Beta Test farmers can be streamlined and maximize farmer and WSI time commitments.
For more information on the WSI FAC please contact any WSI staff member.
WSI Receives $600,000 Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Grant- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Sunday, December 04, 2011
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced the recipients of grants for environmental projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
WSI was awarded an Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant for "Scaling-up Verified Continuous Improvement for the TMDL WIP".
The primary focus of this project is to scale up WSI's assessment, verification and continuous improvement program in three different cropping/animal regions in Virginia to evaluate its effectiveness at providing "reasonable assurance" for agriculture under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.
WSI will develop Continuous Improvement Plans (CIPs) for 20 farms in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore and in the Middle Peninsula and will develop 10 new CIPs in the Muddy Creek/Dry River area and reassess at least 10 additional CIPs in this area for farms already part of the WSI CIP Program. This will provide the ability to compare opportunities and challenges for different farm types, with and without manure, to meet TMDL expectations.
To view the entire proposal, click here.
Dan Kaiser is leaving WSI!- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Thursday, September 22, 2011
After almost three years working full time for WSI Dan Kaiser, Director of Industry Programs, has decided to explore new career paths. He'll be off to New Zealand to work/learn on an organic farm in the Napier area on the north island.
If you had wanted to contact Dan about any WSI business please contact Tom, Ron, Dale or Sally.
We wish Dan all the best in his new endeavor.
Water Stewardship Symposium at 66th International Annual Conference of the Soil and Water Conservation Society- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Monday, July 25, 2011
The Symposium was entitled "Verification and Continuous Improvement of Conservation Performance for Water Quality Protection". The following are the symposium presentations:
State's Purchase of Ecosystem Services Has Implications for Maryland TMDL- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The Biophilia Foundation put out a Press Release on the implications of ecosystem services on the Bay TMDL. WSI has been a partner with the Foundation on work to value ecosystem services generated on agricultural lands.
Chesapeake Bay Journal article- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Monday, November 8, 2010
Chesapeake Bay Journal article, "Group aims to help farmers achieve nutrient goals in doable increments", outlines the WSI on-farm assessment and verification program. Read the entire article at: http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=3961 (opens in new window)
Creating a Culture of Conservation from Farm to Table- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Sunday, October 3, 2010
WSI collaborates on new Shenandoah Valley project with the Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development Council and Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Farmer Advisory Committee Forms and First Meeting Held- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Saturday, September 4, 2010
On August 25, 2010 the WSI Farmer Advisory Committee was convened in Bridgewater, Virginia. The Committee consists of twelve farmers who represent the diversity of Shenandoah Valley agriculture who have either participated in WSI program during the 2009 or 2010 growing season. The FAC will meet two times per year to provide feedback to the WSI approach.
Among the topics under discussion were the findings from the WSI 2009 beta test report and the policy recommendations that became apparent from the project. The next meeting will be held in December 2010 or January 2011 where topics will include how to increase conservation revenue opportunities and ways to advance on farm waste to energy projects.
Dale Gardner appointed to the Virginia Regulatory Advisory Panel- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Sunday, March 14, 2010
Dale Gardener, WSI Chesapeake Agricultural Program Coordinator, has been appointed to participate in a Regulatory Advisory Panel regarding the re-issuance of the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) General Permit Regulation for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). This advisory panel is part of DEQ's public involvement process for regulatory development. The current regulation for the general permit became effective in August 2004, and will expire on December 31, 2010.
This advisory panel will discuss changes to the DEQ regulations to address changes in the federal EPA CAFO regulation that became effective in December of 2008, and include the categories of duty to apply, public notice requirements and nutrient management plan requirements. The most substantive change will be the requirements for public notice associated with the permit. There will be notice requirements for initial coverage, as well as for significant changes to the nutrient management plan. The federal Environmental Protection Agency will also be participating in the advisory panel to help clarify the federal requirements.
Dale Gardner Discusses Water Quality Issues in the Shenandoah Valley on Virginia Public Television- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Friday, October 9, 2009
Dale Gardener, WSI Chesapeake Agricultural Program Coordinator, and Ann Jennings, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, discuss water quality issues in the Shenandoah Valley with Virginia Farming host Jeff Ishee. The twelve minute interview can be found on the web at http://www.wvpt.net/programming/vf/vfvideos.html. Just click on episode #827. Learn more information about Virginia Farming Episodes
Tom Simpson was appointed to a National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Mississippi River Basin- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- June, 2009
In June 2009, Tom Simpson accepted a two-year appointment to serve on the National Academies' Committee on the Clean Water Act Implementation Across the Mississippi River Basin. The committee will provide advice to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other relevant parties on strategic priorities and alternatives for specific actions regarding Clean Water Act implementation across the Mississippi River Basin. Through a series of workshops, the committee will identify actions to improve water quality throughout the Basin and the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Tom Simpson was invited as a member of an international team assessing environmental Impacts of biofuels- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- April, 2009
Tom Simpson was a member of an international team of scientists who participated in a "rapid assessment" workshop on the environmental effects of biofuel technologies. Among the findings it was noted that biofuels production would worsen water quality. The full report, Biofuels: Environmental Consequences and Interactions with Changing Land Use, can be found at http://cip.cornell.edu/biofuels/
Beta Test Farmers Identified- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- April, 2009
Over forty Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, farmers have been recruited for the WSI Beta Test. A variety of farms types are represented, including dairy and poultry, beef cattle, and swine. The farm acreage represented is about 20,000 acres. Farm information is being gathered and protocols for determination of individual farm Conservation Baselines are being prepared.
Ron Korcak was invited to be a member of the USDA Biodiesel Education Oversight Committee- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Monday, March 2, 2009
Ron Korcak was invited to be a member of the USDA Biodiesel Education Oversight Committee. The Committee will oversee the $5 million ($1 million/yr for 5 years) Biodiesel Education grant that was awarded to the National Biodiesel Board and the University of Idaho. The Biodiesel Education grant was authorized under the 2007 Farm Bill and was established to promote the expanded use of biodiesel.
In Maryland, Focus on Poultry Industry Pollution- By IAN URBINA
- Saturday, November 29, 2008
As officials seek new rules on how farmers can spread or store chicken manure, the industry is fighting back.
Water Stewardship, Inc. website is now LIVE!!- By Water Stewardship, Inc.
- Thursday, November 13, 2008
Our website is now live!! Click below to send us your feedback on our contact page.