Program Description:

Cost-share will be provided to install and maintain grass filter strips that are located adjacent to cropland or animal holding areas. Grass filter strips are vegetative buffers that are located along the banks of water courses to filter runoff, anchor soil particles and protect banks against scour and erosion.

Establishment policy:

  1. All trees, stumps, brush, rocks and similar materials that may interfere with installing the filter strip should be removed. The materials should be disposed of in a manner that will not degrade the quality of the environment or interfere with the proper functioning of the filter strip.
  2. No-till planting is preferable. If grading is necessary, conventional equipment can be used for preparing the seedbed, fertilizing and maintenance.
  3. Lime and fertilize according to soil test.
  4. Select a seed mixture of permanent vegetation that satisfies the State minimum specifications and is appropriate for the time of planting.
  5. Hayland is considered cropland if it is in rotation with row crops during the 5-year life span of the grass filter strip.
  6. Filter strips planned for runoff from concentrated livestock areas or controlled overland flows for the treatment of liquid wastes are subject to NRCS Specification.
  7. Filters must be a minimum 35' in width. The maximum filter width eligible for cost-share payment and tax credit is 100', except for wider segments of a contoured filter where the contour is typically 35' to 100' wide.
  8. Filters must be located within 100-feet of a live or intermittent waterway, open sinkhole, abandoned well or Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act Resource Protection Area as defined by local ordinance. An intermittent waterway is considered as being, but not limited to, any channel or flood prone area where periodic water flow or storage is diverted by surface drainage. Grass filter strips may be installed along intermittent waterways where judged appropriate and feasible by the local technical authority.
  9. The vegetative cover must be maintained without additional cost-share or tax credit for a minimum life span of five years following the calendar year in which the cover was established.
  10. State cost-share and tax credit will be provided only one time per filter strip, while that land is under the same ownership. The filter strips must be maintained in cropland, be protected from damage by livestock, and not used as a roadway. Hay may be harvested from grass fitler strips except when using wildlife option.

Landowner Eligibility:

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 & 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).

Land Eligibility:

  1. In cropland, a vegetative filter strip should be maintained on each side of the watercourse;
  2. Protect the filter strip from damage by livestock;
  3. Do not use as a roadway;
  4. Avoid operations that leave tillage or wheel marks;
  5. Woody stems should not be allowed to exceed 2 inches in diameter;
  6. Avoid damaging filter area with herbicides;
  7. Filter strips can be limed and fertilized at the same time as adjacent fields or as needed;
  8. Hay may be harvested from grass filter strips except when using wildlife option.

Contract Length:

5 years

Cost-Share/Payment Information:

$225.00 per acre of filter strip for 35' to 100' wide strips for operators that are not receiving cost-share for this practice from any other source.

The Tax Credit rate is 25% of the total eligible cost not to exceed $17,500.00. If a cooperator receives costshare, only the cooperator's share of the project is used to determine the tax credit. CREP cost share rate is 25% of FSA approved cost.

Signup Information

Sign-up is continuous.

Additional Resources

Find out more about Virginia's Soil and Water Conservation Districts