Farmers and landowners may receive financial assistance for planting a winter cover crop under the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practice (BMP) Cost-share Program administered by the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District (Eastern Shore SWCD). Cost-share offered is an incentive to offset a portion of the establishment costs. Sign-up will be taken starting July 15th and will end on August 17th for the first round of ranking of BMPs.
The Eastern Shore SWCD strongly supports the planting of cover crops as one of the leading BMPs in helping to reduce the leaching of nutrients to groundwater. Several different programs for fall cover crops are offered including small grain cover crops, harvestable cover crops, legume cover, as well as a cover crop for specialty crops and vegetables. Planting dates and cost-share rates vary by practice. Current Nutrient Management Plans written by a certified VA Nutrient Management Planner are still required prior to receiving cost-share for any approved BMP and cost-share is available for the writing of nutrient management plans.
New for FY21: Removal of 600ac. cap for harvestable cover crop(SL-8H), increase in small grain cover crop (SL-8B) cost-share payment rates, and new cover crop cost-share practice that allows fall, spring and summer cover crops. Also new this year is a pilot program (for Bay side acres only) that bundles several components of popular cost-share practices into one contract to cover the whole farm. The pilot program requires the development of an RMP.
As set forth by the VA Code 58.1-339.3 and 58.1-439.5, VA law currently provides a tax credit for implementation of certain BMP practices. For those practices that are unfunded yet still planted to DCR’s specifications, VA Tax Credits may be an option. If interested in VA tax credits, sign-up will be taken for those during this sign-up period as well.
For more information about the BMPs mentioned above or other BMP practices available for cost-share, contact the Eastern Shore SWCD in Accomac, VA at 757-302-4431 for Carmie Savage, District Manager ([email protected]) or Bill Savage, Conservation Specialist 757-302-4433([email protected]). Due to safety measures the District is taking to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, to apply for cost share this year please call first to make an appointment.