The Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District offers technical assistance, as well as financial assistance and state tax credit for a variety of best management practices through the Virginia Agricultural Cost Share Program.  The program offers more than 50 conservation practices that cover the full spectrum of agricultural operations.  The Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) frequently partner to assist producers with their conservation efforts.  Outlined below are a few of the common practices in the Shenandoah Valley.

Stream Fencing and Alternative Watering Systems

Fencing livestock out of streams improves stream health by minimizing streambank erosion and eliminating direct deposition of livestock waste.  Providing centralized water and utilizing cross fence allows producers to maximize grazing of available forages.

Eligible Components

  • Exclusion and cross fence
  • Watering trough(s) and pipeline
  • Well and pump components
  • Stream crossing
  • Other components deemed eligible

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rates

  • Cost Share: 80% of total estimated costs for projects with a 35’ setback OR 50% of total estimated costs for projects with a 10’ setback
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

Roof Runoff Management System

The purpose of this practice is to manage roof runoff by installing gutters on existing agricultural structures in areas where runoff comes into contact with animal waste such as in barnyards and feeding areas.

Eligible Components

  • Gutters
  • Downspouts
  • Drainlines
  • Other components deemed eligible

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rates

  • Cost Share: 75% of total estimated project costs
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

Winter Cover Crops

Cover crops prevent soil erosion, reduce runoff and take up excess nitrogen that otherwise would leach into groundwater. As biomass from crop residues accumulates, it improves soil structure and tilth, while also improving moisture retention and drought resistance.

Eligible Small Grain Species

  • Rye, Wheat, Barley, Triticale

Cost Share or Tax Credit Rates

  • Harvestable Small Grain Cover Crop Cost Share: $20 per acre
  • Non-Harvestable Small Grain Cover Crop Cost Share: $15-$48 per acre
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

Pre-Sidedress Nitrogen Testing for Corn

By testing the soil when the corn is 8-15 inches in height at the whorl, nitrogen can be applied just ahead of the plant’s peak demand.  Test results indicate the available amount of nitrogen and can be used to determine the amount of nitrogen to be side dressed.

Eligible Components

  • Soil test(s)
  • Nitrogen application

Cost Share or Tax Credit Rates

  • Cost Share: $8 per soil test AND up to $6/acre for nitrogen application
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

Tree Planting on Crop or Pasture Land

This practice establishes trees and/or shrubs on land used for crop, hay or pasture to more effectively control erosion, provide wildlife habitat and benefit aquatic environments.

Eligible Components

  • Site preparation, trees and planting cost
  • Other components deemed eligible

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rates

  • Cost Share: 75% of total estimated project costs AND $25-$250/acre incentive payment based on type of trees planted and lifespan
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

Cropland Conversion to Hay or Pasture

Conversion of cropland to hay or pasture provides year-round ground cover reducing soil erosion. Mixed stands of grasses and/or legumes are recommended.

Eligible Components

  • Seed and planting costs
  • Soil test
  • Lime and fertilizer
  • Herbicides and pesticides

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rate

  • Cost Share: 75% of total estimated project costs
  • Incentive Payment: $25/acre for 5 year lifespan; additional $10/acre per year incentive payment for increased lifespans
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

Animal Waste Storage Facilities

Animal waste storage facilities are planned systems, designed to manage liquid and/or solid waste from areas where livestock and poultry are concentrated.  These facilities allow wastes to be stored and spread at the proper time, rate and location reducing pollution and helping control surface runoff to improve water quality.

Litter Storage Shed and/or Composting Facility

These facilities are designed for poultry producers who need litter storage or composting facilities to meet the needs of their operation.

Liquid Manure Pit

These facilities are designed for producers who need liquid storage for manure generated on their operation.

Dry Stack Manure Storage Facility

These facilities are designed for producers who need dry manure storage as a result of confined feeding on their operation.

Eligible Components of all Animal Waste Storage Facilities

  • Engineering services
  • Excavation and construction
  • Other components deemed eligible

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rates

  • Cost Share: 75% of total estimated project costs
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

Dairy Loafing Lot Management System

The intent of this practice is to prevent manure, soil and nutrient runoff from denuded lots that are exposed to heavy livestock traffic.  This is accomplished by dividing the area into grass lots where cattle are rotated, as necessary, to maintain adequate vegetative cover. A sacrifice area or loose housing facility is installed for use during periods of wet weather to prevent damage to the loafing lots.

Eligible Components

  • Fencing, walkways and watering systems
  • Lot establishment and seeding
  • Loose housing facility
  • Other components deemed eligible

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rates

  • Cost Share: 75% of total estimated project costs
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

Sinkhole Protection

The purpose of this practice is to improve water quality by removing sources of pollution from sinkholes and providing an adequate buffer to trap and filter sediments and nutrients from surface water that enter the groundwater through sinkholes.

Eligible Components

  • Debris removal
  • Exclusion fencing
  • Grading and shaping
  • Reseeding
  • Other components deemed eligible

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rates

  • Cost Share: 75% of debris removal costs up to $4,000 AND 75% of estimated costs to protect the sinkhole and establish a buffer
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

Stream Exclusion Maintenance Incentive

The purpose of this practice is to offer an incentive payment to maintain fence(s) that exclude livestock from waterbodies.  Voluntarily installed fencing or fencing that was installed through a conservation program and is out of lifespan is eligible.  Fencing currently in lifespan with any state, federal or other conservation program is not eligible.

Eligible Components

  • Permanent exclusion fence

Cost Share Incentive Rates

  • $1/linear foot of stream bank protected
  • $50/acre of herbaceaous buffer with at least 35′ setback
  • $100/acre of forested buffer with at least 35′ setback
  • This practice is not eligible to receive tax credit

Critical Area Treatment

The purpose of this practice is to address an area that is void of vegetation and causing erosion.  These areas can be caused by livestock or by the channelized flow of water.

Eligible Components

  • Grading & shaping
  • Grass seed & stone
  • Protective fencing
  • Erosion control structures
  • Other components deemed eligible

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rates

  • Cost Share: 75% of total estimated project costs
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses

 

If you are interested in learning more about the Virginia Best Management Practice Cost-Share Program or about practices that are eligible for cost-share or tax credit contact us at (540) 433-2853 ext. 3.  A printable version of the Cost Share Flyer is available.