The Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District (SVSWCD) offers financial and technical assistance as well as state tax credit for a variety of best management practices through the Virginia Agricultural Cost Share Program. This program can help you balance your desire to be a good steward of the land with your need to remain profitable. The program offers more than 50 conservation practices that cover the full spectrum of agricultural operations. The Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) frequently partner to assist producers with their conservation efforts. Outlined below are a few practices with the greatest impact on water quality and that offer considerable economic benefits. The SVSWCD staff welcome your interest and are happy to assist you with the application process.

Stream Fencing and Alternative Watering Systems

Fencing livestock out of streams improves stream health by minimizing stream bank erosion and eliminating direct deposition of the bacteria associated with livestock waste. Excluding cattle from streams removes them from contact with a range of bacteria and viruses. Better herd health and improved productivity will help regain the capital costs and offset maintenance costs. Additional benefits include: increased weight gain, increased milk production, lower veterinary bills and cleaner water.

Eligible Components

  • Exclusion and cross fence(s)
  • Watering troughs 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, after Cost Share payment (if applicable)

Winter Cover Crops

Cover crops prevent soil erosion caused by wind and rain and 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. Farmers can experience reduced fertilizer costs and increased cash crop yields, especially when cover crops are combined with no-till practices.

Eligible Small Grain Species

  • Rye, Wheat, Barley, Triticale

Eligible Legume Species

  • Crimson Clover, Austrian Winter Pea, Hairy Vetch

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rates

  • $20 per acre for harvestable small grain cover crops
  • $15-$48 per acre for non-harvestable cover crops
  • All practices are eligible for Tax Credit, contact us for details

Pre-Sidedress Nitrogen Testing for Corn

Nitrogen is important for optimum corn production and sidedressing nitrogen is a common practice. Corn has the greatest need for nitrogen early in its growing cycle. 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 needing to be side dressed. Soil nitrate testing saves money and reduces unnecessary fertilizer application by determining application rates by field. This practice is most applicable to fields that have a history of manure application.

Eligible Components

  • Soil test(s)
  • Nitrogen application

Cost Share and/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, after Cost Share payments (if applicable)

Cropland Conversion to Hay or Pasture

Conversion of cropland to permanent hay or pasture provides year-round ground cover reducing soil erosion and enhancing water quality. Mixed stands of grasses and/or legumes are recommended. Assistance with determining the best option for your operation is available.

Eligible Components

  • Seed and planting costs
  • Soil test
  • Lime and fertilizer (soil test required)
  • Herbicides and pesticides

Cost Share and/or Tax Credit Rate

  • Cost Share: 75% of total estimated project costs AND $25/acre incentive payment for 5 year lifespan with and additional $10/acre per year incentive payment for increased lifespans.
  • Tax Credit: 25% of eligible out-of-pocket expenses, after Cost Share payment (if applicable)

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, after Cost Share payment (if applicable)

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, after Cost Share payment (if applicable)

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, after Cost Share payment (if applicable)

Stream Exclusion Maintenance Incentive

The purpose of this practice is to offer an incentive payment to maintain fences that exclude livestock from water bodies. 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 waterline 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

Tree Planting on Crop or Pasture Land

These practices will provide financial assistance to plant trees (hardwoods and/or conifers) on land currently used as cropland or pasture land to make a land use conversion to forest.

Eligible Components

  • Site preparation, trees and planting costs
  • 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, after Cost Share payment (if applicable)

 

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 please feel free to contact us either by phone or email. For more information, please contact us here. For a printable version of cost-share programs click on the Cost Share Flyer.