This is one in a series of articles about farmers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed who have implemented Best Management Practices (BMPs), demonstrating that agriculture is half way to achieving the nutrient reductions needed to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its waters. View the rest of the series here.
“We could not have done it without these programs,” stated Jenny Driver of JMD Farms, a partnership operated by Jenny, parents Millard and Frieda Driver, and Michele Marston in Barren Ridge, Virginia.
She’s talking about the multiple programs they used to improve the water resources on their farm. They fenced 1.5 miles of stream banks to prevent their livestock from drinking polluted water and to keep them out of risky areas for birthing.
“The benefits were exponential,” she said in a recent interview. “We did what we could with poly tape and single strand electric wire, but we just didn’t have the money to install the watering facilities we needed for our livestock. These programs made it possible for us.”
They enrolled in Virginia’s CREP program in 2005 and later in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative. The programs helped with technical assistance in designing a livestock watering system with rotational grazing and funded the projects through cost shares and other incentive payments.
“That riparian zone is a super-healthy ecosystem now. The stream banks have healed, and we don’t worry about our livestock being in those wet areas. We sell all natural products, and what we’ve done with these programs helps complete our mission of providing healthy products on an environmentally healthy farm.”
This hundred-acre farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia raises all natural Angus beef, Suffolk lamb, free range chicken and eggs, pork, and fresh produce for local restaurants and farmers' markets. The farm also sells its products through the Internet via Staunton Fresh. Learn more about JMD Farms.