Virginia’s first lady speaks in support of conservation program

virginia-newA cooperative effort between the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Virginia’s farm community is getting ready to launch, and Virginia first lady Dorothy McAuliffe has produced a television public service announcement to promote it.

“We all want healthy rivers and streams, but we can’t do that without help from Virginia’s landowners,” McAuliffe said in the announcement. “Resource Management Plans, or RMPs, are part of a voluntary program that helps farmers get credit for cleaning up our waters.”

The Virginia RMP program was developed with input from the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and other farm groups as a path to improved water quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia’s joint agreement with other states to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff into the Chesapeake Bay watershed are bringing increasing regulatory demands on Virginia farmers. At the same time, farmers felt their past conservation efforts were not accurately accounted for in the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay model. The new RMP program will document past water quality improvement efforts and make it possible for all farmers to have a conservation plan.

“Once you have an RMP, you’re exempt from any new water quality requirements for nine years,” McAuliffe explained in the PSA. “The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has funds available to help you implement these plans. Contact the department today to learn more.”

The PSA is part of an effort to reach the farm community; farmers are being asked to contact their respective soil and water conservation districts to create an RMP. It will debut in September on Real Virginia, the Farm Bureau’s weekly television program, which can be viewed on public television and commercial stations as well as on cable outlet channels across the commonwealth and on the satellite television channel RFD-TV. It also will be featured on the VFBF website and other social media outlets and can be previewed online at http://bcove.me/xo18cesg.

Details about the RMP program are available on the DCR website atdcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/rmp.shtml.

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