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Conservation Security Program in Virginia

Farm Business Management Update, February/March 2005

By Jim Pease (, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

You may have heard that in December 2004, NRCS announced the watersheds that would be eligible for participation in the 2005 signup for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) (see The selected watersheds include the Mattaponi and Lower Rappahannock in eastern Virginia, and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in the Valley. The Mattaponi watershed includes parts of Orange, Spotsylvania, Caroline, King William, and King George counties. The Lower Rappahannock includes parts of Spotsylvania, Stafford, King George, Caroline, Westmoreland, Lancaster, Essex, Richmond, and Middlesex counties. The South Fork/Shenandoah includes parts of August, Rockingham, Warren, and Page counties.

CSP is a voluntary conservation program that provides incentive payments to farmers for existing, maintained, and enhanced conservation practices on their farm. Conservation practices include (but are not limited to) crop rotations, cover crops, conservation tillage, managed livestock access to streams, nutrient management, and prescribed grazing. Three progressive 'tiers' of enrollment range from soil and water protection on one portion up to all of the farm. Payments are determined by tier of participation. Participation ranges from 5-10 years, and payment limits range from $20K-$40K depending on tier of participation.

Signup will begin early this spring, possibly as early as March 15. In early March, a water quality extension specialist team from the CSREES Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Quality Program will offer training to extension educators who wish to conduct programs on CSP in their counties. The 1-day training will be delivered in Frederick, Maryland or Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Some travel support will be available for extension educators. I should learn the details of that this week. My purpose in this note is to inform you about the training, and to poll your potential interest in attending the session. No commitment is necessary until we find out about travel support. Please let me know if, given at least partial travel support, you would be interested in receiving this training. Contact me at or (540) 231-4178.

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