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Just what is the James River Soil and Water Conservation District?

Farming Tractor
The James River Soil and Water Conservation District is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Photo: James River Soil and Water District)

If the question on the ballot about who to elect as the directors of the James River Soil and Water Conservation District stumped you, you weren’t alone. 

Voter Rachel Rowe says she did some research.

“So there were some names that were vaguely familiar from the paper. I’m trying to think if it was that category. If not that, then it was just a random guess,” says Rowe.

But Rowe admits that she has no idea what the Soil and Water Conversation does.

Voter Jay Morehouse says he generally researches the ballot ahead of time, but he "wasn't prepared for that one" and thinks he may have passed on that ballot question.

"So a lot of people don't know are here, but what we do is super important for maintaining soil and water health in the state of Virginia," says Brianna Mooring, the district’s administrator and education director.

She says that Chesterfield County partners with Prince George County to teach farmers and homeowners how to protect their soil and prevent run-off into the James River.

"I think if more people knew about the agricultural community and where our food comes from, I think a lot of more lot more people would be in tune to soil and water conservation.”

Six people from both counties sit on the board of directors. Each serves a four-year term and aren’t paid. The District has been around since 1940, and gets both state and local funding to operate.

Ian Stewart/VPM News

Ian M. Stewart is the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News. He also produces and hosts the World Music Show for VPM Music — now in its 16th season. You can often find him riding his bike around Chesterfield County or on Virginia's Capital Trail. Stewart has won multiple Regional Edward R. Murrow and Virginia's AP Broadcasters awards for reporting and sound editing. He graduated from San Francisco State University with degrees in journalism and creative writing.