This year, two Northern Neck farms were nominated for the Virginia Clean Farm Water Award. These awards are eligible to Virginia farmers who implement conservation plans and are doing their part to preserve water quality. Producers spend time, energy and hard-earned money implementing conservation practices. When nutrients and chemicals are kept out of local waterways, quality of life is maintained and improved for many. In the Northern Neck we have two river basins – the Rappahannock River and the Potomac River.

For the Rappahannock River Basin, the Virginia Clean Farm Water Award was presented to Lee and Garnet Sanders of Sanders Farm in Richmond County. The Sanders Family has continuously implemented a no-till planting system, rye cover crops, split side-dress applications, and recently installed a stream exclusion and a large water control structure practice. They are in the process of converting a highly erodible piece of cropland to grass & clover to use for hay under. For the Potomac River Basin, the Virginia Clean Farm Water Award was presented to Robert “Bobby” Vanlandingham of Northumberland County. Bobby has been a steward of conservation for his many years as a Northumberland County farmer, realtor, and NNSWCD Director. He has continuously maintained a no-tillage planting system along with planting rye cover crops on all of his cropland yearly. This summer, he decided to turn his farming operation over to his son-in-law. However, Bobby still plans to remain active in operating equipment and assisting in any way he can. Aaron Saunders, Agricultural Conservation Specialist, recognized both recipients. Unfortunately, Bobby could not join us at the holiday dinner so Chairman, Robert Pickett, accepted the award on Bobby’s behalf. Congratulations to both recipients on their efforts to keep our local waterways clean and protected.