Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District
By Kate Norris
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation recognizes local horse farm as a 2008 Bay Friendly Clean Water Farm
Jen Mosle of Flyover Farm in Haymarket, Virginia was nominated by the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District to win this year's local award. The 10-acre farm is home to 8 horses and ponies that enjoy green pastures, mud-less turnout even in wet weather, freeze-proof automatic troughs, and can safely cross the stream over a culvert crossing.
District staff first identified the environmental challenges of this property in 1999 which included steep eroding slopes of up to 15-25%, a large floodplain, and a stream that is designated as a Resource Protection Area in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As a non-regulatory agency we were unable to insist upon improved land stewardship but only to share ideas, technical resources, and information about financial incentives available to make changes.
In 2006 the new property owners, Jen Mosle and family, contacted the District for assistance and a conservation plan was developed to address the environmental challenges and the Mosle's vision for the farm. The Resource Protection Area stream is now protected by a wooded buffer, interior fencing was added for rotational grazing, and drainage issues were addressed. The pastures were seeded and fertilized following soil test results and now have 95% ground cover. Congratulations to Flyover Farm!
If you would like assistance turning the vision you have for your farm into a reality, consider contacting your local Soil and Water Conservation District. Conservation Districts are non-regulatory and work with farmers on a voluntary basis to use land management practices that maximize farming protection while protecting natural resources. Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District is one of 47 conservation districts in Virginia and one of thousands across the U.S. Districts were formed during the dust bowl era to bring technical, educational, and financial resources to the community they serve and address local natural resources issues. Each conservation district is unique. Prince William SWCD has received recognition not only for its work with the horse community but also for an extensive youth education program that presented programs on natural resources to over 16,000 students last year. To locate your Conservation District visit the National Association of Conservation Districts website at http://www.nacdnet.org/about/districts/directory/index.phtml
Prince William County residents can contact Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District at (703) 594-3621. All assistance is provided at no cost to the farm owner or manager and participation is voluntary. Winter is a great time for planning so you'll be ready for spring.