Agricultural Best Management Practices

Cost Share & Tax Credit Programs

The Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District (LFSWCD) accepts signups for the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices incentives program year round. Currently, new applications are being accepted for cost-share and tax credit; assistance availability may change during the fiscal year which runs from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

This program offers incentive payments for farmers and landowners to install conservation programs on their farms.  Cropland, pasture, dairy, poultry, and everything in between all qualify for various programs. The Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices (Ag-BMPs) Cost-Share Program, which pays up to 75% of the installation costs (up to $50,000) for approved conservation plans, is administered by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The purpose of the program is to improve water quality in the state’s streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.  The program encourages the voluntary installation of Ag-BMPs to meet Virginia’s non-point source pollution water quality objectives. Farmers in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren County should contact the LFSWCD office to schedule a farm visit and sign up for conservation programs they may be interested in.  You may speak to any of our conservation technicians by calling 540-465-2424 ext 5.

There are numerous Ag-BMPs that are eligible for cost-share and/or tax credit.  A few of these are listed below. For more information take a look at the state cost-share manual, which describes each practice in greater detail.

  • Winter cover crops (i.e. barley, rye, triticale, etc.) are a recommended practice that controls erosion and decreases nutrient runoff, reducing the need for costly fertilizer during the summer cropping season
  • Grass establishment on fields historically row-cropped, prevents erosion while providing a hay crop for the landowner
  • Stream fencing can increase cattle health and promotes efficient field use, while also decreasing erosion and in-stream manure deposits
  • Nitrogen sidedress on corn is a practice that promotes applying the right amount of nitrogen when and where it’s needed, reducing fertilizer costs and runoff simultaneously
  • Dairy loafing lots and similar facilities can provide an easier management scheme for dairymen and cleaner/more controlled runoff for water quality
  • Other conservation projects include the following: tree planting, water diversions, stripcropping system creation, harvestable cover crops, legume cover crops, permanent conversion to no-till system, grassed waterways, animal mortality composters, sinkhole protection, grass filter strips and more