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Wertz and Ball recipients of Water Conservation District Award for Millbank Farm

Tri-County/City Soil and Water Conservation District selected Millbank Farm owned by Gail Williams Wertz and Andrew Ball as the Clean Water/Bay Friendly Farm Award Program recipient of King George County (Rappahannock Watershed) for 2013.

The couple was honored for the outstanding farm conservation management of Millbank Farm by the Tri-County/City Soil and Water Conservation District and commended for a commitment to protecting and enhancing waters that flow beyond farm boundaries and for the conservation ethic they demonstrate through farm management practices.  

At a meeting on March 18, the couple received the Clean Water/Bay Friendly Farm Program Award with a presentation from Lewis Ashton, III. Ashton is the King George Tri-County Director.

Supervisor Chairman Joe Grzeika told Ashton, “I think it’s commendable that each year you bring us a representative of somebody in King George that goes out of their way to do the right thing on their property to take care of our precious and important resources that we have. We thank you.”

In conjunction with the Tri-County Clean Water Farm Award, Wertz and Ball were presented a unanimous resolution from the Board of Supervisors for their outstanding efforts commending them for their conservation management practices.

They were cited for demonstrating a commitment to the conservation of the natural resources on Millbank Farm through responsible farm management and nutrient practices that include:

~ The establishment of grass hay and legume on previously cropped fields to prevent soil from washing into nearby streams;

~ Applying the correct amount of fertilizer according to soil test results;

~ Installing perimeter high tensile fencing to keep cattle away from wet areas and the Rappahannock River;

~ Installing cross fencing to divide larger fields for better grazing and proper pasture management/rotational grazing system;

~ Drilling a well that uses solar power to deliver water through 1400 feet of pipeline to three frost-free waters; and
~ Installing fence to exclude cattle from riparian areas on the farm.

Ball accepted the award and resolution, saying, “This is truly an honor. It’s great to be recognized for doing something that is so much fun as I have had farming the last ten years or so.”

He added, “I certainly wouldn’t be up here accepting this award were it not for the help that Gail, my wife, and my daughter, Jenny, and her husband, Tim, and the grandchildren have given me. They are a wonderful ‘hay’ crew, and I owe them a lot.”

Ball said he said he has received “tremendous help” from the Tri-County/City Soil and Water Conservation District, noting several people at the agency who provided advice.

Ball added, “Lewis Ashton himself taught me how to build fences, so I’m immensely grateful to him.”

To the governing body, Ball also said, “Finally, I’d like to say that I’m grateful to the Board of Supervisors for the tremendous work load that you five individuals shoulder on our behalf, but also for your continuing commitment to maintain the rural nature of our county, where an award like this can be won. And I hope for many years in the future King George will remain basically a rural county. I would urge you to hold fast to the concept that quality of life goes far beyond economic prosperity. Thank you very much.”

ABOUT TRI-COUNTY
The Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District serves King George, Stafford, Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg through programs and activities that enhance water quality of surface and ground waters, while conserving and protecting natural resources. In cooperation with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, farmers who demonstrate outstanding management practices which conserve precious natural resources are selected and recognized through the Clean Water/Bay Friendly Farm Award Program.


— Phyllis Cook

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