augusta free press news

Conservation rollout

“Voluntary Stream Fencing Options to Keep Regulations at Bay” will be the theme for this year’s Conservation Programs Rollout Meeting, which will be held Dec. 9 at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona. The meeting will be in the Smith West Room at 7 p.m.

Farmers and landowners will learn from conservation agency representatives what program assistance is available to help with the implementation of a myriad of practices to improve soil quality, water quality and wildlife habitat.

According to Robert Whitescarver, district conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there is much more flexibility in the programs now and more funds than ever.

“Regardless of what you have heard in the media there are funds available to improve the natural resources on your land. There has been a lot of talk about regulations, but if you really want to do something there is technical and financial assistance available now,” Whitescarver said.

The first round of funding will begin on Jan. 14.

Fencing livestock from streams has been a hot topic lately especially in regards to the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. Whitescarver stressed that most farmers get into stream fencing programs because they need better grazing distribution for their livestock or they need more watering facilities.

“This is a perfect opportunity to use water quality funds to establish a rotational grazing system for your livestock,” Whitescarver said.

All conservation programs and practices will be discussed at the meeting. These include planting perennial forages and cover crops, organic farming initiatives and assistance for the construction of high tunnel hoop houses for specialty crops. Wildlife habitat and native prairie establishment will also be discussed. Various open space easement programs will be discussed also.

For further information please contact the local USDA office in Verona at 540.248.6218.