Clarke Farmers Offered Open Sign Up for Cover Crops

The Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District (LFSWCD) today announced the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices incentive program sign up for fall cover crops is now open. Sign up will be taken until August 16, 2010.

The District offers incentive payments to farmers who qualify and plant cover crops no later than October 25. The early bonus date for planting is October 5, 2010. Cover crops must stay in place throughout winter, but can be harvested or killed down in the spring.

Cropland in Warren, Clarke, Shenandoah, and Frederick Counties is eligible for enrollment. Participation is limited to 120 acres or $3,000 per applicant.

Agricultural cover crops such as barley, rye, wheat, oats, and triticale are a recommended practice to control erosion from crop fields. This helps prevent sedimentation of the streams and rivers. Cover crops also help retain nutrients, increase soil organic matter, and improve tilth. They should be planted immediately after harvesting of corn or other grain.

Farmers need to sign an application form and identify the fields which will be planted with cover crops.

The LFSWCD is a Virginia local governing agency charged with administration of State non-point source pollution cost share programs.   District personnel identify water quality and soil erosion problems, provide conservation information, and supply technical and financial assistance to landowners to correct those problems.   The District also promotes conservation of natural resources on a regional basis and provides erosion and sedimentation plan approval services to those localities that request assistance.

For additional information, visit the SWCD office in Strasburg or call Pete Benedetto  at 540-465-2424 x3 .