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Current Soil and Water Conservation Projects

Field Day at Glen Leven

Davidson Soil Conservation District held a Field Day to showcase the conservation practices implemented and how they are working. Field days have been a core part of Practical Farmers since the beginning, when farmers would come together to share details of on-farm research and demonstrations to gain information and learn new techniques. Maybe there was something in the air (or soil or water). Maybe it's the growing interest in farming around the country. Maybe... it was just time to get on the farm! The Glen Leven Farm just 4 miles from the center of downtown Nashville and entrusted to The Land Trust for TN is a perfect agriculture classroom. The farm has a rich farm history and one of the descendants was TN Commissioner of Agriculture. The farm is the largest piece of Nashville's Civil War battlefield still intact. The farm is now home to a variety of agricultural and conservation practices including a honeybee sanctuary, shorthorn cattle, miniature donkeys, educational garden, an arboretum with the largest mass of American Yellowwood in the United States, heirloom garden planted and maintained by the Hermitage Hotel Grill and volunteers and a host of other agriculture conservation activities.

The day begin with a presentation and tour of the Water systems, heavy use area, corral pasture and conservation easements presented by Gary Moore (retired NRCS) Land Trust for TN.  Practices at this stop included a water trough with heavy uses area and corral for 4 pasture cattle watering. The next presentation was to showcase cattle grazing, water quality, pasture rotation and soil health by Greg Brann, NRCS Grazing Specialist. The practices included limited stream access, stream crossings and over 9000 feet of fencing to address resource concerns and pasture rotation. The next topic was Forestry and Stream Restoration by Reggie Reeves, TN division of forestry. Practices included stream riparian and tree planting along Brown's Creek (which begins at Glen Leven Farm, and now 5 miles have been removed from the 303-D list, thanks to the conservation practices) Cattle production & TN AG Enhancement Programs was the next tour and topic presented by Mark Powell, TN dept. of Agriculture. Showcased were the cattle working facilities, feed storage and Ag enhancement programs to assist producers. Next stop was the Heirloom Garden tour and a presentation by Tyler Brown, Executive Chef for the Hermitage Hotel Grill and Michael Holt Farm manager for the Garden. Next was at the Educational Garden with a presentation from Dan Harrell, UT Extension-Community Garden Specialist. The Educational Garden uses the "Soil to Spoon" material provided by Davidson SCD. Field days are a mainstay of Practical Farmers, bringing farmers and the public together to learn, share knowledge and build community connections in support of a thriving agricultural system. All gathered for lunch and networking on the lawn, under the largest pecan tree in Nashville. The program included Will Lewis, Davidson SCD vice president, introducing Trevor Hunt, new NRCS District Conservationist for Davidson County. Kevin Brown provided comments from NRCS and Tom Womack from TDA, each spoke about the partnership and Conservation Agriculture programs. Davidson Soil Conservation District awarded The "Conservation Farm of the Year" to Glen Leven Farm with Land Trust CEO/Director, Jeanie Nelson making comments of appreciation to NRCS, TDA & Davidson SCD. The "Farmer of the Year" was presented to GL Shorthorn for their commitment to install the conservation practices on leased land. The final award was to "Harvest & History" for "Education and Agriculture Promotion". Door prizes were given by Shantel king, NRCS, to lucky attendees. The afternoon tours included "optional tour of the Historical Home and History" provided by Ophelia Paine, descendant of the Thompson family, for which Thompson Lane in Nashville is named. The tour of the Bee Sanctuary with a presentation by Matt Slocum, bee keeper's association and bee keeper at Glen Leven, was filled with much curiosity and the importance of pollinators. A honey basket form the hives at Glen Leven was a door prize. The exhibit and topic "Pesticides &Weed Control" presentation by David Cook, UT Extension provided information for identifying and prescribe treatment for weeds, disease, insect damage and other plant ailments. The final presentation was the "Water Simulator Run off Demonstration" provided by Kelly German, NRCS. The Simulator demonstrated the run off from rain water with different ground covers and the infiltration to the soil. There were 15 Agriculture and Conservation Exhibitors booths set up on the grounds to provide information, handouts and partnership networking. It was a great day to showcase the best management practices in action on the farm and bring farmers, landowners, agencies and the public together to learn, share knowledge and build community connections for a thriving Agriculture system.

Tour of the Stream Crossing

Whites Creek Watershed

Cost share practices for best management practices, Tennessee Department of Agriculture including:

  • Pasture Management
  • Riparrin Buffers
  • Fencing for livestock exclusion
  • Rotational Grazing
  • Stream crossings
  • Streambank Stabilization
  • Alternative Watering Systems

A Heavy Use area was constructed on the Allen Williams farm to be used for feeding hay. A watering trough with a heavy use area was installed in a corral system to provide livestock access to water. Cost share for watering facilities was provided through the EQIP program.

The Hermitage - Home of former President Andrew

Conservation Practices Completed

  • Fencing livestock out of stream
  • Alternative watering system
  • Prescribed grazing
  • Grassed Waterway

Nashville Zoo

Outdoor Classroom Activities at Metro Schools

  • Elementary, Middle & High Schools
  • Envirothon Environmental Education Competition