Botetourt Co., VA - A cement plant looking to expand its mining operation has pumped a half a million dollars into local environmental programs as a tradeoff.
Roanoke Cement has just completed an environmentally friendly cattle ranch that is also a classroom.
The ranch sits along two miles of Catawba Creek in Botetourt County.
Typically when a company needs permits, from the government for mining they have to offset the environmental impact with positive environmental projects.
Many companies opt to just buy, what are called "credits", which go into a central fund for projects that could be anywhere in the country.
Roanoke Cement opted to keep the project local which actually cost them more to their bottom line.
"Just the way our team is here at Roanoke Cement it was a no brainer. We really wanted to do a local project," said Environmental Supervisor, Lance Clarke.
Working with the USDA, the plant's environmental team set into motion a plan for 200 foot buffer, on each side of Catawba Creek, for two miles.
The buffer contains nearly 17,000 newly planted trees and shrubs that will filter runoff going into the creek.
The farm also acts as a classroom where farmers and students can come learn about the techniques.