New River-Highlands RC&D Council Presents Awards

12/22/2012 7:00 AM
By Jane W. Graham Virginia Correspondent

WYTHEVILLE, Va. - The New River-Highlands Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council honored its outstanding members and supporters during a recent luncheon here.

Phyl Snapp a Wytheville agribuinessman was inducted into the council’s hall of hame during the event.

Snapp, a native of Burkes Garden, Va., where he grew up on a dairy farm, is the owner and operator of S&W Fertilizer, Seed and Chemical Co., Inc.

Asked if he farmed in addition to running the store he said he didn’t have time to farm if he did a good job with the store. He gives it his full attention.

“I’m about as close to farming as you can get without farming,” he said in a telephone interview.

He works to see that he and his employees stay on top of what is happening on the farm and in the seed and fertilizer business, keeping certifications current and learning about needs and products. He sells both Pioneer and DeKalb brands of seeds.

His seed product line includes small grains, pasture grasses and corn. He also sells fertilizer in bags or bulk and provides spreading services.

He came to Wytheville in 1984 as a manager trainee for Southern States Cooperative. After 10 years with the big company, he borrowed money and became a partner with brothers who had a small store.

“Phyl has displayed outstanding dedication and undying service over many years to the RC&D Council,”’ Bob Martin, chair of the executive council, said in presenting the award. “His leadership and knowledge have helped shape the RC&D Council and helped the program grow into the success you see today.”

He cited Snapp’s volunteer efforts and dedication to the RC&D program, saying they are a big reason why it is and will continue to be a strong viable organization.

Snapp was also named the 2012 outstanding member for the council.

The Wytheville Farmers Market Passport Program was selected as the outstanding RC&D project for 2012. The award was presented to Melanie Hanshew, manager of the farmers market and Ellen Reynolds, the project manager for the Conservation Education Grant III, in recognition of their collaborative effort to make this project a success.

The Wytheville farmers market passport program was funded by a grant from the Wythe-Bland Foundation as part of the 2012 farmers market grant.

The farmer’s market passport program encouraged kids to attend and participate in the Wytheville Farmers Market on an ongoing basis throughout the market season. The youth received stickers each time they attended the market and as they reached different levels of attendance they received recognition items such as vouchers for the market, caps and tee shirts.

During the meeting the group recognized the Carroll County and Grayson County boards of supervisors as outstanding RC&D sponsors for their support of the New River-Highlands RC&D program.

“Carroll and Grayson Counties supported the council through payment of their dues and their active participation in the councils regional energy plan,” the group reported in a news release. “This project was funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to develop an energy plan and a biomass demonstration project. These sponsors haves strengthened the RC&D Council and provided the needed resources to help the council accomplish our mission and goals.”

“The Forestry Merit Award was presented to Brad Carico, with the Virginia Department of Forestry, for outstanding assistance to the RC&D Council in support of the Hillsville Elementary School trail project and the Mathews Forest makeover project,” the release continued. “Brad designed and assisted with the installation of a bridge for the Hillsville Elementary School farm. The bridge will provide access to a stand of timber to assist in the management of the forest and it will serve as access for the Hillsville Elementary School trail. The installation of the bridge served as a forestry demonstration for the forest makeover project.”

The group reported that he also assisted with two other demonstration projects at the Matthews State Forest as part of the forest makeover project. These demonstrations included stream crossings and road layout.

Jeb Minarik, district conservationist for Galax field office with the Natural Resources Conservation Service was presented the group’s distinguished service award to a Natural Resources Conservation Service employee.

“We present this award to Jeb for his outstanding assistance with the implementation of the New River grazing initiative project,” the group reported. “Jeb worked with the six participants in Carroll and Grayson Counties to become familiar with their plans and current status of implementing the plans. Jeb has been active in the grazing schools.”

The Outstanding RC&D saff Award was presented to David Richert, RC&D forester for the RC&D Council. David provides leadership and guides three forestry projects that the council is currently implementing. These projects include protecting woodland homes from wildfire (fire wise project), extreme forest makeover project (Matthews State Forest) and the community scale renewable energy program in the Twin County region.

The group also presented several distinguished service awards to individuals who have helped in developing its programs. These people are:

Phil McClellan, environmental engineer and owner of MapTech, Inc. for distinguished service to the council in developing the in-lieu fee Program that the council submitted to the Army Corp of Engineers for approval. Phil provided assistance with the New River streambank restoration project by providing technical assistance and use of the water jet stinger for planting live stakes. Phil is constantly looking for ways to partner with the RC&D council on water quality projects.

Jane Graham, a freelance writer and contributor to this paper, covered several New River-Highlands RC&D Council Projects in the RC&D Area. She attended several of the grazing schools and developed news articles to support the New River grazing management initiative. Jane interviewed Danny Boyer and Gary Boring in the development of a feature article on the New River grazing management initiative. Jane covered the RC&D earth day event at Chuck Shorter’s farm, and published an article on streambank restoration and planting live stakes.

Danny Boyer for his outstanding assistance and support for the New River grazing management initiative project. Danny hosted two grazing schools at his farm. He was the primary instructor at both workshops. He led a discussion on stockpiled grazing and the nutritional value of the stockpiled forages at the first school. The second school focused on planning for a stockpile grazing program and covered topics such as how and when to fertilize for stockpile grazing, how many acres are required, when to start grazing and which fields to graze first.

Danny attended another grazing school in Abingdon, va., and presented a program on stockpile grazing featuring planning and fertilizing stockpile grazing fields. Danny discussed the impacts of a good fertility program on forage production with emphasis on fertilizing for stockpile grazing. He was accompanied by his son, Daniel, a freshman at Wytheville Community College, in accepting the award. Daniel told the group about some of the work he and his dad are doing.

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