~ Information provided by the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District and published in the Page County Farmers Association’s April newsletter
Rob, Amy and Linzy Cumbia of the L.M. Lawler Farm were named the 2020 Page County Clean Water Farm Award winner by the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District.
The Cumbia Family operates a 150-plus-acre farm in Page County. The farm consists of 35 acres of hay ground, 100 acres of pasture, and some woodland. The property borders the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and a small tributary to the South Fork also flows through the property.
The operation has a herd of 20 Charolais cows with calves. To expand the genetics of the herd, the Cumbias rent bulls. These cattle are managed year round on pasture in a rotational grazing system. The grazing system includes seven pastures and seven troughs, which they use to rotate the cattle through to maximize forage utilization. The Cumbias make multiple cuttings on the operation’s hay fields before stockpiling forage in these fields for strip grazing in the winter months.
The Cumbias have excluded the cattle from the South Fork and the tributary that flows through the property. To further their conservation efforts, the Cumbias have also planted trees in the excluded areas on their property to enhance the riparian buffer and promote wildlife habitat. The Cumbias are active members of the Page County Farmer’s Association and often help with the Luray Middle School Career Fair and the Page County Fair.
Continuing Conservation Initiative
The ShenandoahValley Soil and Water Conservation District (SVSWCD) has funding to pay for stream exclusion that was done voluntarily or is being maintained after a programmatic lifespan ends.
To be eligible for funding:
• Existing components cannot be under lifespan through another program.
• Stream exclusion must be adjacent to pasture land.
• Producer must agree to maintain the practice components for a five-year lifespan.
What will be expected?
• If during the site visit that existing components require maintenance, these items must be addressed before the practice can be certified and paid.
• When accepting funds, the participant agrees to maintain all components receiving payment as part of the practice for a five-year lifespan beginning January 1 of the year following payment.
• Livestock must remain excluded from the buffer area for the lifespan.
For more information, contact the Shenandoah Valley SWCD at (540) 534-3105.