Multi-General Farming: Biosolids Help Keep Whetstone Farm in the Family

Founded in 1918, Chip Davis and his family have grown Whetstone Farm to more than 1,200 acres to include poultry, a cow-calf operation, hay, and timber. Chip and his wife Debbie are the third owners of the land, which was original to the the French & Indian War. In 2021, the farm was recognized as a Centennial Farm by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Whetstone Farm was also among the first farms (in Virginia) to utilize biosolids, finding a productive way to recover and reuse this nutrient-rich material.

In addition to recycling and improving soil health, the use of biosolids has improved pH levels on the farm. Davis maximizes the use of this high quality and regulated product. He points to the pasture where you can see a clear difference in the fertilized, healthy green grass that received a biosolids and then surrounding buffer where biosolids are not applied – according to regulations. Davis said it is important for the public to be aware that the impact of biosolids is in fact less severe than commercial fertilizer. To learn more about the nutrient value and management of biosolids, see the Fact Sheet provided on the Virginia Biosolids Council website.

Davis also has applied biosolids to his forested land. He hired special machinery from Blackstone, to apply biosolids to his trees. The  machinery worked by moving up and down rows, reducing impact to the land, which was a more effective process than he was able to use previously.  For more information on biosolids and forestry, click here.

As an active member and president of his local Farm Bureau, he receives many questions around farming and the challenges that come with it. He enjoys explaining the environmental and economic benefits of recycling biosolids on his family’s farm. As educators, both he and his wife welcome school groups and community groups to learn about agriculture and forestry, Buckingham’s top industries. He also talks about the other best management practices, like fencing streams, he employs on his farm to support a healthy Chesapeake Bay. As most farmers like Davis believes, farmers are naturally the very best stewards of soil and land. 

Chip Davis and his wife Debbie both live on the property, along with their son, Ivan III, daughter Sarah Walker, and their families. Davis is most proud of having his family involved in farming and credits sharing the farm with his family and the entire Buckingham community as one of the most rewarding aspects of farming.