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EPA’s Plans for Virginia’s Farmers

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Cover crops, Virginia says, “…comes at considerable expense to agricultural producers…” Virginia’s WIP (Watershed Implementation Plan) wants cover crops on 10% of available cropland. Financial incentive programs will be available.

Virginia’s WIP claims there are approximately 27,000 farms in Virginia managing approximately 1.5 million cattle. Virginia officials state “Achieving livestock exclusion on 95% of riparian waterways will require the establishment of a new expectation within resource management plans.”

Once again, Virginia says it will reward early adopters and pay a large percentage of fencing costs in the first few years.

Land retirement plan
Like Maryland, Virginia, too, has an agricultural land retirement program. The WIP states on page 63 that “…approximately 5% of available lands is expected to be [retired] through a combination of financial incentives provided through state and federal programs…”

The Virginia WIP goes on to request that 5% of upland agricultural lands must be replanted in trees. Sixty-two percent of Virginia is forest land now at 15.72 million acres. In 1630 it was 24,480,000 acres out of a total of 25.3 million acres in the Commonwealth.

Poultry mortality composters must be in place by 2017 because dead birds cannot be buried. Swine mortality composters must be in place by 2017.

The transport of poultry manure from two counties must be exported out of the counties by 2017 and by 2025, 75,000 tons annually would need to be either landfilled or exported outside the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Because poultry production is a major industry in Virginia, there must be poultry phytase phosphorus reduction of 30%. The 30% reduction is required by the end of 2014.
A requirement which some in the Midwest may find amusing is that the Virginia WIP targets 50,000 acres of cropland by 2017 to be farmed using “Precision/Decision agriculture.” By 2025, the WIP requires 50% of Virginia cropland to be run under precision techniques. Virginia believes these numbers can be met with assistance from the fertilizer industry and possible incentives.

Page 65 Table 5.4-1 provides an excellent summary of all actions expected by agriculture by 2025.

U.S. farmers need to pay attention to EPA’s regulatory plan and the American Farm Bureau lawsuit trying to stop it.

(This article first ran in Farm Futures on July 19, 2014)

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