Pamunkey River Crimper Roller No Till Soybeans Shoreline Stabilization Agriculture Awareness Day














AGRICULTURE
The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act

The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act was passed in 1988 by the Virginia General Assembly and requires local governments within the Tidewater area to amend their ordinances to meet standards for water quality as specified by the Clean Water Act. The regulations set forth by the Bay Act require land used for agriculture purposes, including dairy and feedlots, to have an approved soil and water conservation plan. Landowners are required to establish or maintain a vegetative buffer adjacent to any stream, pond, or wetland connected by surface flow.

What We Offer
•   Virginia Agriculture Best Management Practices (BMP) Cost Share Program
•   Tax Credit Program
•   Best Management Practice Revolving Loan Program
•   Certified Nutrient Management Planners
•   Essex County Land Use Program
•   Web Soil Survey/Soil Information
•   Outreach
     ο   Road Signage
     ο   Farm Equipment Safety Awareness Radio Spots
     ο   Yield Response on Organic Corn
     ο   Roller Crimper
     ο   Cover Crop & Efficient Corn Fertilization Dinner
     ο   5 County Agriculture Conference
     ο   Cost Share Dinner

Virginia Agriculture Best Management Practices (BMP) Cost Share Program

Click Here for information about the Virginia Agricultural BMP Program. The program supports voluntary installation of BMPs that will address Virginia's nonpoint source pollution water quality objectives.

All BMP funds are rewarded according to the District Cost Share Program Considerations to determine funding priorities. Priority is given to applicants in the watersheds with the greatest non-point source pollution loads, fields with a water quality index of 5 or greater, or leaching index of 8 or greater, or 1/3 HEL and has an existing conservation plan.

Tax Credit Program

Another tool is the Virginia Agricultural BMP Tax Credit Program, which began with the 1998 tax year. The program supports voluntary installation of BMPs that will address Virginia's nonpoint source pollution water quality objectives.

Agricultural producers with an approved conservation plan can take a credit against state income tax of 25 percent of the first $70,000 spent on agricultural BMPs. The amount of the tax credit can't exceed $17,500 or the total state income tax obligation.

All tax credit incentives are rewarded according to the District Cost Share Program Considerations to determine funding priorities. Priority is given to applicants in the watersheds with the greatest non-point source pollution loads, fields with a water quality index of 5 or greater, or leaching index of 8 or greater, or 1/3 HEL and has an existing conservation plan.
Best Management Practice Revolving Loan Program

The Virginia Small Business Environmental Compliance Assistance Fund through the funding of agricultural BMPs can be a financial resource to provide additional solutions to non-point source pollution in Virginia. The Virginia Small Business Environmental Compliance Assistance Fund is a loan fund available to small businesses, including farmers to obtain direct loans to finance the purchase of equipment and/or structures to voluntarily implement Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs); or to any small business to purchase and install equipment necessary to comply with the federal Clean Air Act, and/or to purchase and install equipment to implement voluntary pollution prevention measures.

The Fund is administered through a cooperative agreement between the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Business Assistance (DBA). DEQ provides the funding and project review. DBA receives the applications, provides the financial analysis of the loan requests and administer the loans through its Financial Services Division. The Fund will lend up to $100,000 at 3% interest to farmers who want to voluntarily participate in the implementation of a select list of Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Click Here for the list of eligible BMPs, the Application, and the Address to submit the application to.

Certified Nutrient Management Planners

Three Rivers SWCD cooperates with the Department of Conservation & Recreation to promote nutrient management not only because it is good for the environment, but also because it is economically beneficial to the farmer. Nutrient Management is the practice of more efficiently utilizing all nutrient sources available on the farm. This includes manure, legumes, and residual nitrogen as well as commercial fertilizer. The conservation specialist consults with the farmer to develop a nutrient management plan, which includes soil analysis, manure or bio-solid analysis, and commercial fertilizer recommendations. In addition to the NM-1 (Nutrient Management) practice of plan writing by private planners, 20,446.5 acres were written for our district cooperators.

Many of the Cost Share BMPs available require the farmer to have a written Nutrient Management Plan on file with their local Soil and Water Conservation District. Click Here for a list of active plan writers that are certified in Virginia (This list does not include all planners certified in Virginia, only those indicating that they wish to be included in this list).

Essex County Land Use Program

Essex County has a new land use program to save on real estate taxes and help preserve the rural beauty, natural resources, and local economy. For more information, Click Here.

Web Soil Survey/Soil Information

The Web Soil Survey and other soils information can be found at the following websites:

    websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/
    www.soils.usda.gov

Outreach
Road Signage

To promote conservation and the importance of best management practices to local citizens, Three Rivers in cooperation with local producers placed Continuous No-till and Cover Crop signage along the Rt. 360 and Rt. 17 corridors. Thank you to Stephen Ellis, Jay Hundley, David Taliaferro, J.W. Brooks, R.F. Longest, and Randy Christian for their participation.

 


Farm Equipment Safety Awareness Radio Spots

In an effort to educate motorists, Three Rivers SWCD, through the VA Cooperative Extension, sponsored radio informational commercials on WRAR and WNNT to promote traffic safety and how to interact safely with farm equipment around the holiday weekends. Our radio spot ran Memorial Day weekend.

Yield Response on Organic Corn

Staff participated in an organic field test plot at Hillsborough Farm in King & Queen. Nitrogen deficiency and crop competition from weeds have been identified as two factors that are limiting corn yields. This plot evaluated the effects of eliminating weeds and increasing nitrogen rates on corn yields. Poultry litter was applied pre-plant at a rate of two tons per acre. The District staff worked in cooperation with the Essex Extension Agent and the NRCS Agronomist.


Roller Crimper

Crimper rollerThree Rivers District partnered with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Northern Neck SWCD, Essex County VCE and the Tidewater RC&D in a pilot project to provide a crimper roller free of charge to the farmers in our area in order to destroy annual cover crops. Cover crop rolling is an advanced no till technique. It involves flattening a high-biomass cover crop to produce a thick, uniform mat of mulch. A cash crop is then no-tilled into the mulch. If the right kind of roller is used on the right cover crop at the right time, the rolling process itself will kill or partially kill the cover crop. This means burn down herbicides can be reduced or eliminated. The crimper roller has been demonstrated at 5 field days and used by 15 producers in the Northern Neck and Tidewater region.

Cover Crop & Efficient Corn Fertilization Dinner

The Essex Unit of Virginia Cooperative Extension, Tappahannock Branch of the Colonial Farm Credit and Three Rivers SWCD, supported by a grant from the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program through the Department of Conservation & Recreation provided a dinner meeting in March to discuss Cover Crops and Efficient Corn Fertilization to local producers. During the meeting, Dr. Wade Thomason, Extension Grains Specialist from Virginia Tech, provided an update on cover crop research conducted in Virginia. Also reviewed were cover crop establishment procedures and their effectiveness in achieving a good cover. With the increasing fertilizer prices, the latest research relative to efficient use of nitrogen and phosphorous in corn production was discussed. Forty-seven producers participated in the program.

5 County Agriculture Conference

Three Rivers District provided a $1,000 grant from the VA Best Management Practices Cost Share Mini Grant program to the Essex and Middlesex Units of VA Cooperative Extension to assist in providing an Agricultural Conference for the counties of Essex, King William, King & Queen, Middlesex and Caroline. There were 81 producers and agency representatives in attendance to hear “Current Trends in Grain Production Agriculture”, Soybean Rust Update, Conservation Programs Update from NRCS, FSA and Three Rivers SWCD, Pesticide Safety and Federal and State Pesticide Legal Issues.

Ken Ferrie
addressing ag
producers at
the 5 County
Ag Conference


Cost Share Dinner

Three Rivers SWCD hosted a Best Management Practices Cost Share Promotional Dinner in August at the King & Queen Ruritan. There were 52 producers on hand from the three county area to hear about the agriculture practices that would be available for cost share in the 06-07 program year. The main topics discussed were priority BMPs such as cover crops, permanent cover on cropland, continuous no-till, contractual cover crops, nutrient management plan writing, nutrient management record keeping, and livestock exclusion from streams. The dinner was made possible by a grant from the Ag BMP Cost Share Mini-grant program.


 
Three Rivers Soil & Water Conservation District • 772 Richmond Beach Road • P.O.Box 815 • Tappahannock • VA • 22560-0815