Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District
By Kate Norris
Are you interested in making some water quality improvements to your horse farm such as installing a sacrifice area, adding interior fencing, buffering a pond or stream, or adding some water troughs? Changes can be expensive but farms that have the greatest impact on water quality can qualify for financial assistance from state, federal, or private funding sources. The following is a partial list of the most popular agricultural conservation programs, currently available:
New Year, New Management: Help for Making Improvements to Your Virginia Horse Farm
Ducks Unlimited (D.U.)D.U. is a private conservation partner that provides an additional 15% funding to the VA Ag BMP Cost Share and Tax Credit Program for projects that protect a Resource Protection Area (RPA) along a stream or pond. Landowners commit to maintaining the practice for ten years.
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
The purpose of this program is to protect streams and ponds in pasture or cropland with forested buffers. This program is cooperatively administered with funds from state, federal, and private sources. In addition to 75% cost share, there are"rental"" payments of $90/acre/year for land in the buffers, and other incentive payments. Landowners may participate in the program for ten to fifteen years. There is a $500/acre permanent easement option for landowners that wish to leave buffers in place permanently.Funded Elements Include:
The Virginia Agricultural BMP Loan Program
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Resources Authority jointly administer this loan program, offering loans with 3% interest. Loans are used to install water quality improvements including fencing and watering system practices and manure storage structures. Landowners may participate in the loan program in conjunction with a state or federal cost share program. Loans are repaid on a monthly basis over a period of one to ten years.
Funding is available, through the above listed programs and others, to help agricultural landowners improve their management for the protection of water quality. To find out if your farm qualifies for assistance, or for more information about financial incentives, contact the Virginia Association of Conservation Districts at (804) 559-0324. They will be happy to direct you to the Soil and Water Conservation District that serves your community.
Note: Similar programs may exist in other states. Contact the National Association of Conservation Districts at (202) 547-6223 for assistance.