HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – The Virginia Best Management Practices program is now publicly funded for the first time, giving it $295 million over the next two years.
This program sends farmers to analyze soil and water conservation districts and encourages other farmers to improve their practices based on assessed needs.
“We took all the different conservation practices and put them into a formula to get the nutrient reductions we were trying to achieve,” said Martha Moore, Virginia Farm Bureau vice president for government relations.
Some of the practices include putting up fences around watercourses to keep livestock out, but then finding a way for them to get water, creating nutrient management plans, or implementing place buffers to reduce the number of runoff nutrients entering waterways. Plus, Moore said there were probably hundreds more.
Implementing these changes doesn’t just help the environment and water quality. They also contribute to the management of the farm.
“It helps farmers manage their nutrients, so they can get the most out of them. Right now, with fertilizer prices, they can’t afford to waste a single drop on their land,” she said.
BMP Cost-Share operates as a reimbursement program in which farmers who make conservation changes are rewarded. There is also a loan scheme that farmers can borrow from if they are unable to afford the improvements initially.
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