Cost-share and tax credit are provided to establish vegetative cover on cropland for protection from erosion and the reduction of nutrient losses to groundwater.This practice will provide an incentive to keep a cover on cropland, which will help prevent the loss of nutrients. The purpose is to reduce erosion and the leaching of nutrients to ground water.
Soil loss calculations using the presently approved Natural Resources Conservation Service calculation methodology shall be documented and included in the participant file for review during spot checks. No nutrients from any sources may be applied before March 1 of each year, except that for certain manure parameters. Cost-share is provided as a variable flat rate per acre incentive to encourage proper establishment and to offset a portion of the cost of seed and the seeding operation. This practice may be implemented one time without the participant providing a copy of a current nutrient management plan that is being implemented on all of the appropriate agricultural acres contained within the tract to the Soil and Water Conservation District. A good stand and good growth of winter cover must be obtained in sufficient time to protect the area in the fall and winter. Harvesting for hay, haylage, silage, grain, straw or seed is not permitted. Pasturing consistent with sound agronomic management is permitted as long as a 60% cover is maintained through March 14. The cover crop must be killed using mechanical or chemical means or by grazing no earlier than March 15 and no later than May 15 for the coastal plain, piedmont, and mountain and valley.
All individuals and business entities operating agricultural land within the boundaries of the Commonwealth of Virginia are eligible to participate in the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program. Applicants shall self certify that they meet the above criteria. Soil and Water Conservation Districts may request that applicants provide proof of agricultural production. To be considered an agricultural producer there must be an annual minimum of $1,000 of agricultural products being produced, sold or both from the applicant's agricultural land (non-industrial private forest lands are exempt from the $1,000 requirement).
Cropland, pastureland. Nutrient Management Plan required after the 1st year of participation in this practice.
The state payment rate is $25 per acre payable to applicants that are not receiving payment for cover crops from another source on the same acreage. A $25 per acre early planting bonus is payable for cover crops planted on or before the early planting date specified for their physiographic region. SWCDs should not issue cost-share funds if a good stand and good growth of winter cover is not obtained before December 1 and maintained through March 14. A $10 per acre bonus payment is available for all applicants that plant Rye from the following list on or before either planting date.
The Tax Credit rate is 25% of the total eligible cost not to exceed $17,500.00. If a cooperator receives Cost-Share, only the percent of the total cost of the project that the cooperator contributed is used to determine the Tax Credit.
Sign-up is continuous, however this practice has certain required dates for planting and harvesting.
Find out more about Virginia's Soil and Water Conservation Districts