2018 Bay-Friendly Farm Award pre­sented to own­ers of Thorn­ton River Farm

Rappahannock News - - NEWS - Spe­cial to Rap­pa­han­nock News

Rap­pa­han­nock County cat­tle farm­ers Chris and Caro­line Par­rish have been pre­sented with the 2018 BayFriendly Farm Award by the Virginia Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Recre­ation at its an­nual awards din­ner in Culpeper.

“I got the same award about 30 years ago and it was pre­sented by Jim Massie, whose grand­son David Massie af­ter all these years pre­sented us with the award this time,” Par­rish tells this news­pa­per.

The Clean Water Farm Award Pro­gram, un­der which the Ch­e­sa­peake BayFriendly award is pre­sented, rec­og­nizes farms that uti­lize prac­tices de­signed to pro­tect water qual­ity and soil re­sources. Chris, whose fam­ily roots in Rap­pa­han­nock go back gen­er­a­tions, lives in the same house where he grew up.

The fam­ily’s Thorn­ton River Farm near View­town en­com­passes 650 acres — 250 acres of cool sea­son peren­nial hay land, 300 acres of pas­ture, and 100 acres of man­aged for­est. The farm has just over three miles of frontage on the Thorn­ton River, which is a ma­jor trib­u­tary of the Hazel River.

Over 80 per­cent of the farm has stream ex­clu­sion fenc­ing, which to­tals over 20,000 feet of pro­tected stream­bank. It has at any one time 140 head of cows/calfs that Chris ro­ta­tion­ally grazes in mul­ti­ple pas­tures. The cat­tle drink from sev­eral spring de­vel­op­ment sys­tems that were in­stalled through the cost share pro­gram, as well as two pres­sur­ized sys­tems.

Be­sides cat­tle, the Par­rish fam­ily pro­duces high qual­ity horse and cat­tle hay mar­keted as square and round bales to horse and cat­tle own­ers. All the hay fields are over­seeded us­ing a no-till sod drill. Legumes are used to im­prove the or­chard­grass stands and sup­ply ni­tro­gen.

Chris Par­rish is vice chair of the Rap­pa­han­nock County Board of Su­per­vi­sors.

COURTESY PHOTO

Culpeper Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion District Rap­pa­han­nock Di­rec­tor Mike Biniek, Bay-Friendly Farm Award re­cip­i­ents Chris and Caro­line Par­rish, and Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Recre­ation Di­vi­sion Di­rec­tor of Soil and Water Dar­ryl Glover.

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