By Irene Luck – November 2021
The Lake Anna Civic Association has an award that it presents to a person, group or agency that has gone above and beyond for the greater Lake Anna community. At this year’s annual meeting the group recognized Elk Creek Farm and its owners Dr. Randolph and Wendy Chisholm and Bill and Brenda Morris.
This is the second time the family has received the award. In 1999 Louis and Claudia Chisholm were presented the award, then known as the Good Neighbor Award, for their efforts to protect and promote Lake Anna and the Lake Anna Civic Association. The farm is now owned by his children, Brenda Morris and Randy Chisholm, who spearheaded the efforts to improve the lake’s environment.
The 625-acre farm sits along Elk and Millpond creeks in Louisa County and has been home to a cattle farm for many years. The property is currently rented by the Goodwin family from Spotsylvania County and is home to anywhere from 100 to 200 head of cattle depending on the time of year.
The owners recognized the impact the cattle were having on the lake’s quality as the cattle used it to cool off and often relieve themselves in the water. Entering and exiting the lake was damaging the shoreline and causing the lake to become muddy as the cattle moved around in the muddy bottom. To reduce the farm’s footprint on the environment the family installed six miles of fence along a portion of the farm with help from the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District.
In addition to the fence, the property now boasts beehives to encourage pollination of the plants and trees have been added along the streams to slow run-off into the lake. The cattle are now provided drinking water from wells rather than the lake. These are situated around the 20 or so paddocks constructed on the property that allow the cattle to be rotated frequently to prevent overfeeding on the grass. It also encourages the forage to grow stronger and healthier.
For their efforts to protect land and water resources, the farm received the York River watershed Grand Basin award for 2021.
Following the death of LACA founder Jack Bertron in the early 2000s, LACA renamed the honor in his memory.
Each spring, the LACA board solicits nominations for the honor which is presented at the annual meeting held the last Saturday of July. A list of qualifications and previous winners is listed on the organization’s website.