Agriculture program conservation funds are currently available from the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District for a variety of conservation practices. The District has recently received its program allocation for this year and now is a good time to contact the District.
One of the most sought after programs is the 75-85% reimbursement for stream fencing, water development and rotational grazing. There are many benefits from establishing a grazing system and utilizing stream exclusion fencing. Improved utilization of forage, extended grazing seasons and improved soil moisture resulting from better water infiltration all can result and benefit the producer. Those have been well documented. In addition, many producers appreciate being able to better predict where their cattle are located at any time; rotational pastures rather than one large one large provide this. Better quality drinking water for livestock also results.
Opportunities also currently exist for funding for cover crops such as small grains for either harvesting or killing and also for multiple species cover crops that incorporate forage or tillage radishes, legumes and other species to provide additional soil benefits. Payments for cover crops range from $15 to $48 per acre depending on what is planted and when it is planted. Planting by October 10 pays higher and pure stands of some rye cultivars also pay additional amounts. A nutrient management plan is typically required to be eligible and this further benefits the producer. The agronomic benefits of cover crops are well established: scavenging of soil nutrients especially nitrogen, fixing atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, improving soil tilth and organic matter, protecting the soil from erosion in the off season and improving water infiltration into the soil are a few. Knowing your purpose(s) for growing a cover crop, targeting your species selection and management to achieve your purpose is key to attaining greater benefits. Sign up and approval is required.
Now is the time to contact the District to get more details for cover crops and on all cost share program projects. There are many options. For more information, contact the District at 540-825-8591 or 540-308-6301. For additional opportunities contact the Natural Resources Conservation Service at 540-825-4200 ext. 101.