Farmers who lost fences, mulch, soil and other items during June’s severe flooding may be eligible for assistance under an emergency cost-share program provided by the West Virginia Conservation Agency.
The WVCA and the state’s 14 conservation districts provide regular assistance to agricultural cooperators – farmers who agree to implement conservation best management practices on their land – under the Agricultural Enhancement Program (AgEP). Last year for example, nearly 100,000 feet of exclusion fence was erected on farmland throughout the state to reduce stream bank erosion and protect water resources from agricultural pollution.
The flooding, which killed 23 people and damaged nearly 3,000 homes, also caused widespread damage to agricultural lands. The Capitol (CCD), Elk (ECD), Greenbrier Valley (GVCD) and Southern (SCD) conservation districts will now offer assistance to cooperators in flood-affected areas.
All four conservation districts will help farmers replace damaged or lost exclusion fence. In addition, the Capitol Conservation District, which offers an urban agriculture program, will help cooperators replace tumbler compost bins, straw mulch, raised beds, rain barrels and soil.
GVCD covers Greenbrier, Monroe and Pocahontas counties. SCD covers Fayette, McDowell, Mercer, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming counties. ECD covers Braxton, Clay, Nicholas and Webster counties. CCD covers Kanawha County.
To be eligible, a farmer must either be a cooperator or agree to become one.
The approval process is similar to the regular AgEP program, although the ranking criteria will differ slightly. Site visits and documentation of losses by WVCA staff are required, and a formal application must be submitted. Application deadlines vary by district. To learn more, contact your local conservation district office. A directory is available at www.wvca.us/map.cfm or by calling 304-957-1409.