Jim Evans wins Virginia Clean Water Farm Award

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Jim Evans, of Evans Farms near Tasley, was one of 10 winners of the Virginia Grand Basin Clean Water Farm Awards announced by Gov. Glenn Younkin. 

The awards recognize farmers or farm owners doing exceptional work to protect soil and water resources. One winner is selected from each of Virginia’s major river basins.

“Virginia’s farmers are vital to the Commonwealth’s work to restore the health of streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “The Grand Basin Clean Water Farm Award winners are among our most innovative stewards of the land and water, and Virginians owe them a debt of gratitude for their outstanding conservation work.”

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation sponsors the awards in partnership with Virginia’s 47 soil and water conservation districts. Evans was nominated by the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District. 

Evans farmed evenings and weekends throughout a 20-year teaching career before building a large crop operation across land that had been farmed by three generations of his family. 

He primarily grows corn and soybeans on his 4,000-acre farm, and has partnered with another local producer to farm an additional 700 acres. 

His regimen of wheat and barley cover crops, along with minimal tillage, boosts soil health and reduces loss by maintaining the soil’s organic matter and biological activity. 

Evans maintains a nutrient management plan and uses precision, variable-rate nitrogen application equipment and low-drift spray nozzles to most effectively fertilize his cropland and curb runoff. He has also planted two acres of pollinator habitat to attract local insects and enrich the ecosystem for other wildlife. 

An advocate of agricultural conservation, Evans is devoted to improving the quality of his local farming environment for future generations. 

His daughter, Claire, is now following in his footsteps as she acquires the conservation farming skills that have made her father so successful.

“This year’s Clean Water Farm Award winners represent the best in conservation farming in Virginia,” said Matthew Lohr, Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. 

“We are especially proud of — and grateful to — these successful farmers, who are role models helping bring other producers into the best practices fold. They’re showing the Commonwealth that conservation isn’t just good for the environment. It’s good for business.”

“District staff and the farmers they work with are dedicated to growth and continuous improvement in practices that enrich our natural resources,” said Kendall Tyree, executive director of the Association of Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts. 

“We’re proud that many of our partnerships with these farms go back decades. We appreciate the opportunity to assist the agricultural community and look forward to continuing to expand these mutually beneficial partnerships that enhance our land and waters.”

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