Virginia Friend of the Bay
Sustainable Chesapeake and our partners proposed to accelerate the adoption of cover crops that promote healthy soils, farm prosperity, and clean water through a comprehensive education program designed to get farmers thinking about what cover crops can do for them - not just what they can do for the Bay. While many of Virginia's farmers plant cover crops and appreciate the reduction in soil erosion and the nitrogen scavenging benefits they provide, Virginia's Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) proposes to triple the acres of cover crops by 2025. Cover crops are one of the most cost-effective conservation practices and are currently supported through Virginia's Agricultural Cost Share Program. However, reliance on financial incentives alone to achieve these ambitious adoption goals risks setbacks if state funding levels decline. Restoration Funds will support Sustainable Chesapeake and Virginia Soil Health Coalition efforts to re-frame the conversation about cover crops to focus on multiple benefits and options that farmers have for incorporating cover crops into their crop rotations.