Hundred Year Farm
Cattle farmers John and Joanne Doss needed to establish protected buffer areas and a rotational grazing system for their herd.
The Dosses created a rotational grazing system for their beef cattle herd by installing livestock exclusion fencing, alternative watering systems and stream crossings, excluding 44 acres of grass and mature forest buffer and planting trees in the grassy areas.
An award-winning example of successful stewardship of agricultural land.
Making it work
It took dedicated landowners and a team of experts to wrangle agricultural and riparian buffers into a successful configuration. But over a three-year period John and Joanne Doss, at Hundred Year Farm in Cumberland County, VA., installed 17,000 feet of livestock exclusion fencing, alternative watering systems and stream crossings to create an intricate rotational grazing system for their beef cattle herd, protecting over 44 acres of both grassy and mature forest riparian buffers.
The project won the Dosses the 2022 Clean Water Farm Award, via the Peter Francisco Soil & Water District (PFSWD). The award is given by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and recognizes Virginia producers installing conservation practices on their properties that positively impact soil and water quality and encourage others in the stewardship of our natural resources.
Through the Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share Program, the Dosses worked for three years installing livestock exclusion fencing, and alternative watering systems and stream crossings to create a rotational grazing system for their cattle.
The project excluded 44 acres of mature forest and grass buffers, and within those grass areas the Dosses wanted to restore native hardwood trees. This gave the Peter Francisco SWCD and the James River Association (JRA) the perfect opportunity to collaborate and utilize the James River Buffer Program to make this happen!
The Dosses participated in the James River Buffer Program in two phases as their livestock exclusion fencing projects were completed. During the Spring ’21 and Fall ’22 planting seasons, a total of 1,138 native shrubs and trees were planted across 22 buffer sections across the farm!
Joanne is an avid gardener, so trees with pretty blooms was one of her requests as their buffer plan was developed.
The James River Association coordinates buffer projects across the Middle James Watershed with conservation partner the VA Department of Forestry. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation covers the Upper James Watershed.
When we took over operation of the family farm four years ago, we knew we had to make some major changes, or we would not be able to stay in the cattle business. The farm was losing just too much money. We studied our options and decided we could greatly reduce our expenses by managing our grazing through daily rotation of the cattle. To do that we needed fencing and a water system.The Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share Program made that happen! Thanks to them, our creeks are clean for the first time in over 100 years. The restoration of the creek banks was then completed by the James River Buffer Association who added many, many hardwood trees. And now our beautiful farm is ready for the next hundred years as it becomes more profitable while we care for the land and the water. A win-win all the way around! ~ Joanne Doss
Kelly Snoddy (PFSWCD) pictured, assists Anne Marie Roberts (JRA) measure out the newly excluded buffer areas to plan for the hardwood tree planting buffer project.
Livestock exclusion buffers and forest buffers work together.
The 178 acre farm has been in Joanne’s family for generations and her love of family history has shaped the way she and her husband, John, have revitalized the farm and its infrastructure over the last few years.
About the Project
Location: Hundred Year Farm, located in Cumberland County, VA
Year Installed: Spring 2021, Fall 2022
Land type: Private agricultural
Acres of Riparian Forest Buffer: 44 acres
Trees and shrubs planted: 1,138
Improvements: Livestock exclusion buffers and forest buffers combined to have a positively impact on soil and water quality
Installed by: Landowner, Peter Francisco SWCD and JRA staff