ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A young farming family in southern Albemarle County is among 10 farmers being honored statewide for what they're doing to help protect Virginia's watershed.

Their farm is called Magnolia, and they’re working to protect the James River by reducing levels of contaminants that could enter the river via a creek on their property.

Mike and Ashley McMahon bought their farm just four years ago.

Now, the work they’ve been putting in to make the land last and keep the water clean is being recognized statewide with a Virginia Clean Water Farm Grand Basin award.

“It’s kind of a surprise to us,” Mike McMahon said. “We were working with the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District. We moved the farm here about four years ago, and it was a little bit in disrepair to be putting it lightly.”

The McMahons’ farmland was once badly eroded and the animals weren’t fenced in, which meant waste often washed into the creek on the property.

“If you've got a property below ours or below any farm that has animals, if those animals are in the water then picture your kids playing in the creek and everything that’s coming down their way,” Ashley McMahon said.

Over the last four years, the McMahons have improved the land with help from the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District.

“We think that it’s a great - like this, we didn’t do on our own we did it with a lot of help and like its - there’s great resources out there if you own land and are interested in trying to improve the management of the resources there,” Mike said.

The McMahons say that although they have come a long way, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“We were kind of surprised, honestly, but it was pretty nice because it definitely has been a lot of work and a lot of time and it’s amazing to see the transformation as well,” Ashley said.

“The farming thing is continuous,” Mike said. “It doesn’t stop. So we’re just starting, so it’s nice to be recognized but this is just the beginning. We have a long road ahead of us.”

Click here to learn more about Magnolia Farm and the work the family does on it.