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Halifax’s icon of farm community earns state award

The Virginia Chapter of Soil and Water Society presented its Conservationist of the Year Award to Bruce E. Pearce on Nov. 2 in Charlottesville.

The Conservationist of the Year Award is for exceptional service in advancing the science and art of good land and water use.

This award is presented annually to an individual or group.

Pearce, who has just completed 32 years of working with the Halifax Soil and Water Conservation District was recommended for the award by Raymond Cocke, District Conservationist with Natural Resources Conservation Service. 

“As Conservation Specialist/District Manager for over 30 years Bruce has been the driving force behind conservation education of youth and adults as well as an “in the field” provider of direct technical assistance for conservation programs provided through the Virginia Best Management Practices Program and associated USDA farm bill programs,” Cocke said in his recommendation.

In his 32 years of work, Bruce has been on nearly every crop and/or cattle farm in the county. He is an icon of the farm community, and known for his dedication to his work, his perfectionist attitude to any practices he recommends to farmers, and lastly his unquenchable sense of humor. 

Alton farmer Joe Wilkerson said, “Bruce is a real asset to the farm community, he brings along a breath of fresh air with all he does. He is just a joy to work with.” 

Halifax businessman and farmer Bill Abbott has also worked with Pearce over the years.

“Bruce applies a common sense approach to his work, he’s never met a stranger.  My customers always seem happy to have Bruce on their farm to help them,” noted Abbott.

Scott Crowder has known Pearce for over 25 years.

“He is always there to help the farmer and also offer advice of all sorts.  He is real asset to the farming community,”  said Crowder.  

Larry Younger, a retired Halifax Veterinarian, added, “Bruce‘s true value to the county is his extensive knowledge and experience in farming and conservation.

“That will be very difficult to replace.”  

John Voss, of the Union Community says, “Bruce is a wonderful asset for information when it comes to soil and water conservation here on the farm. He has designed and helped lay out field terraces, grassed waterways, diversions, and a pond dam.  If you have a question, Bruce is always a phone call away. He will go out of his way to help in any way he can.  I would like to congratulate Bruce for receiving the Conservationist of the Year award. I believe he well deserves it. He’s done the Halifax County Soil and Water Conservation District a good job. I hope he continues to for many more years.”

In addition to his service to the farm community, Bruce has spent countless hours in county classrooms as a resource person teaching about natural resources and conservation.

More importantly, his quest to inform and instruct young people about natural resources extends far beyond the classroom.

Each year he organizes and leads the Halifax Youth Conservation Camp, a Halifax County Soil and Water Conservation District event that provides a day-long educational experience for 110 to 140 Halifax County 7th graders.

Pearce also provides leadership in other annual events including Envirothon for 9th through 12th-grade students and their science teachers, a week long Environmental field school held in conjunction with area counties and National Parks and Recreation; Wildlife Food Patch Contest for county youth ages 8 to 18; and an Eco Meet held in conjunction with the Corps of Engineers at Kerr Dam.