Virginia farmers eligible for portable fencing funding to protect streams

chesapeake bay foundationThis summer farmers in Virginia became eligible for state cost-share funding to pay for portable fencing to keep livestock out of streams and rivers.

Fencing livestock out of waterways has significant benefits for clean water because it prevents erosion and waste from polluting streams. The practice also contributes to healthier herds.

Before July 1, farmers could only receive cost-share funding for more expensive permanent stream fencing systems. Temporary fencing is often a more viable option for the many Virginia farmers who lease land.

In an effort to increase stream fencing, Virginia has approved for the first time a cost-share for portable fencing. The new cost-share practice, called WP-2P, will pay producers for protection of stream banks, wetlands, intermittent springs, seeps, ponds, sensitive karst features, and gullies adjacent to springs. The payment is a single payment of 30 cents per linear foot of fence plus a flat rate payment of $250 per fencing charger.

“Providing state cost-share funding for temporary fencing opens up so many opportunities for farmers to contribute to cleaner rivers and streams while managing healthy herds,” Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Watershed Restoration Scientist Matt Kowalski said. “Temporary fencing is a very affordable option that’s also portable, so farmers can take it with them if they lose a lease. This is going to help more farmers fence their livestock out of waterways, leading to healthier rivers and streams across Virginia.”

No minimum fencing standards are required, so electric polywire with step-in posts are eligible, as are single or double strand high-tensile electric fences. The fence may even be placed at the top of bank. The producer is required to exclude livestock from all live streams and live water in the field(s) at all times during the five-year lifespan of this practice, except for where stable limited access points are utilized.

The means by which water is provided to livestock is at the discretion of the producer, so stable limited access points, solar systems, stream pick-ups, temporary troughs and portable waterers are all acceptable options.

This cost-share practice is a huge step forward in supporting practical and inexpensive options for protecting the water sources on your farm. In many cases the $0.30/foot will cover the cost of fencing materials with money left over.

Contact your local soil and water conservation district for more information: www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water/swcds.


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