The Central Virginian

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Keeping Louisa’s waterways clean

Posted on Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 10:07 am

Mark Howland, owner and operator of Corduroy Farm, recently received local and state awards for keeping water clean.

Mark Howland’s efforts to bring a local 100-year-old farm back to production after its reclamation was recognized by state, regional and local agencies.

The land on Corduroy Farm, located in the Green Springs Historic Landmark District, will continue to contribute goods to society and create wildlife habitat while eliminating any long-term environmental effects of the former vermiculite mine.

Corduroy Farm, winner of the 2011 York River Basin award, was recognized by House Joint Resolution No. 333 passed by both the Senate and House during a February 2012 general assembly session.

The farm also won the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District 2011 Clean Water Award and was recognized with a resolution from the Louisa County Board of Supervisors  on Dec. 17 for its outstanding farm conservation management practices.

There are 465 acres of reclaimed pasture that is now covered in fescue and orchard grass and feeds approximately 60 mature cows along the divisions of the fields.

Howland began rebuilding the entire fencing by installing more than 13,000 feet of cross-fencing and a water system over the 465 acres, which excludes the cattle from going to any creeks, streams or river, thereby keeping the water clear.

Corduroy Farm was established in 1856 by James Murray Vest and his wife, Martha. The farm was purchased by Doniphan Howland’s grandfather, William Worth Smith, Jr., in 1917, who established a dairy farm in 1925. In 1940, Smith’s daughter and son-in-law, Fredericka and Francis Purcell moved to the farm to continue the dairy farming. A major lighting bolt struck the silo in 1970, causing it to burn, which according to Howland,was the beginning of the end for the dairy farm.

“The farm was once a mining site of a rare mineral, vermiculite, which is only found in three to four areas in North America, with Louisa County being one of those places,” Howland said.

To read the entire story, see the Dec. 20 edition of The Central Virginian.