Southampton landowners recognized

Published 11:08 am Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chowan Basin Soil & Water Conversation recently presented its annual awards to, from left in front, Vicki and Chris Parker, R. Graydon Deloatche, Leonard and Diane Newbern, Alan Diggs and Nancy Reid; and in back, Mark Spiers, Robert Spiers and Bill and Elizabeth Robinson.

EMPORIA—Four Southampton County landowners and farmers were recognized for their efforts during the recent Chowan Basin Soil & Water Conservation District annual awards banquet.

They were Leonard and Diane Newbern, Alan and Milton Diggs, R. Graydon Deloatche and Nancy Reid.

The Wildlife Conservationist Award went to the Newberns, who used the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to convert 57 acres of cropland back to forested acres and installed a high tunnel hoop house for cut-flower production.

The Clean Water Farm Award was presented to the Diggses from the Sedley area. The Diggs Brothers’ 1,200-acre farm has been using no-till or strip-till conservation tillage for soybeans, corn and wheat for years.

Conservation tillage methods such as these help reduce the amount of soil runoff that occurs during a rain event and helps keep streams and rivers free from sediment. The Diggses use winter cover crop, which helps build up organic matter in the soil to help reduce the amount of fertilizer used.

They have been approved in the Conservation Stewardship Program, meaning they are doing above what is required under the farm bill and also agree to do more, such as implementing a nutrient management plan or making sure there is some type of ground cover at all times on the cropland they farm.

Deloatche was recognized for his efforts in forestry on family-owned land in the Boykins area. Deloatche wanted to restore the land to trees, and recently converted the 55 acres of cropland to long leaf pines and six acres to native grasses.

He hopes one day his grandchildren will benefit from the land as his great-grandparents did years ago when they cut the timber to send their four daughters to college. Deloatche continues to work with a local forest consultant and Natural Resources Conservation Service to make sure that the land is managed in the most environmental and economical way.

Reid, who is studying environmental biology at Norfolk State University, was an earth team volunteer for Natural Resources Conservation Service; she put in 10 hours of service.

Reid also assisted with the Grassland Preserve Program, doing site evaluations and related paperwork.

Other recipients were Elizabeth and Bill Robinson from Greensville County, and Woodview Farms and VACAR Properties, both in Sussex County.