Oct. 10 funding deadline for stream fencing, rotational grazing, cover crops

Rappahannock farmers receive up to 85 percent reimbursement

Agriculture program conservation funds are currently available to Rappahannock farmers from the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District for a variety of conservation practices.

The district, which includes Rappahannock County, has just received its program allocation for this year, according to the district’s Stephanie DeNicola-Turner, although the deadline for local farmers to receive funds is Oct. 10.

One of the most sought after programs is the 75 to 85 percent reimbursement for stream fencing, water development and rotational grazing. There are many benefits from establishing a grazing system and utilizing stream exclusion fencing. Improved utilization of forage, extended grazing seasons and improved soil moisture resulting from better water infiltration all can result and benefit the producer.

In addition, many producers appreciate being able to better predict where their cattle are located at any time; rotational pastures rather than one large pasture provides this. Better quality drinking water for livestock also results.

Opportunities also currently exist for funding for cover crops such as small grains for either harvesting or killing and also for multiple species cover crops that incorporate forage or tillage radishes, legumes and other species to provide additional soil benefits. Payments for cover crops range from $15 to $48 per acre depending on what is planted and when it is planted.

The agronomic benefits of cover crops are well established: scavenging of soil nutrients especially nitrogen, fixing atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, improving soil tilth and organic matter, protecting the soil from erosion in the off season and improving water infiltration into the soil are a few. Knowing your purposes for growing a cover crop, targeting your species selection and management to achieve your purpose is key to attaining greater benefits.

Contact the district to get more details for cover crops and on all cost share program projects by calling 540-825-8591 or 540-308-6301. Or else email stephanied@culpeperswcd.org.

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