By Stephen Smoot
The Potomac Valley Conservation District (PVCD) held its board meeting to discuss upcoming events, projects, and other matters last Wednesday, Aug. 31.
Board members needed little discussion to approve support of the Pendleton County Farm Bureau’s Farm Safety Day. They responded to Farm Bureau President Steve Conrad’s request for assistance with a pledge of $200 to help to defer costs.
Other events also came up for mention. The PVCD still looks to expand participation in its annual Field Day at the Reymann Memorial Research, Education, and Outreach Center in Wardensville on Friday, Sept. 9. Topics covered include interseeding of summer annuals into pastures, extending the grazing season through rotational grazing, and alternative and cost-efficient sources of fertilizers.
Dinner will also be offered at 4:30, but attendees need to RSVP with the Hardy County WVU Extension Service.
Board members also heard updates on programs offered to help area farmers improve their productivity. First, as Nadine Jewell from the PVCD explains, the district offers rentals of some types of agricultural equipment to local farms. This includes feeders, manure spreaders, poultry litter spreaders, poultry house crusters, and elevators for poultry litter producers.
Additionally, agricultural enhancement and Chesapeake Bay program participant applications received approval. The Chesapeake Bay Program is a federal project designed to reduce pollutants in the Bay’s watershed region.
As Davin White from the West Virginia Conservation Agency explains, the agricultural enhancement program provides “money to help farmers to put lime on their pastures.”
He went on to say “we can cost share with that, giving a percentage of the cost of the lime,” but recipients have to account for the rest of the cost. The program allows for a 60 percent cost share up to $50 per ton.
PVCD area poultry producers can apply for assistance in the installation of concrete pads. These help to prevent litter and other undesirable materials from leaching into the soil from poultry houses.
Farmers from the PVCD and the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District (covering Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties) may participate in Chesapeake Bay programs. The cover crop program can provide assistance in planting up to 75 acres with the cost share aspect determined by the date of planning.
Available to poultry producers is the litter transfer program, which will provide assistance up to $10 per ton at a flat rate with maximums of $2,500 per producer and 250 tons removed. The litter must leave the boundaries of the Chesapeake Bay Region.
Cattle farmers can receive help in obtaining fencing to separate cattle from other areas of the farm and to keep them away from streams.
These and other programs help farmers to achieve best practices in farm management to promote efficiency and to also reduce pollutants that can end up in groundwater or streams.
While signups for this year started on July 1 and ended last month, White said that farmers will be able to sign up again sometime next summer.
Another conservation district program designed to help poultry producers was also discussed. The district will mow around poultry facilities for $50 an hour, even with the currently high cost of fuel.
The PVCD will hold its annual banquet at 4 p.m. on Oct. 15 at the Moorefield Church of the Brethren.
The next board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 in the Farm Credit building in Moorefield.