The Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District offers numerous services to agricultural operations, both large and small. In an effort to improve the Chesapeake Bay, we have several New cost-share Tax Credit practices available for agriculture producers to help improve the Bay.
Cost-Share Programs are administered by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) through local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD). The goal of these cost-share programs is to improve water quality in our streams, rivers, and the nearby Chesapeake Bay. As an incentive, cost-share assistance is offered to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs). Participation in these programs is voluntary, and we offer our expertise at no cost. Funding is based on what our District has available and how your practice ranks compared to other applications we receive; though funding is not guaranteed, it never hurts to ask!
If you have any questions or want to participate in any of our cost-share program, call 571-379-7514 or e-mail:
Nicole Slazinski - email@example.com
Mike Miller - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay Yankey - email@example.com
In order to participate in any of our cost-share programs, you must meet the following criteria:
Property has/had a water quality concern (e.g. livestock has/had access to a waterway, no manure storage system, no cover crops when main crops aren’t growing)
Property must have at least 5 consecutive acres
Property has been in agriculture production for the past 5 years
Property has produced at least $1,000 worth of agriculture products/year (agriculture products include crops, hay, and livestock, such as cattle, equine, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, etc. Horses solely for personal use are not considered as agriculture products.)
*Property must be located in Prince William County.
*If you are located outside of Prince William County, you can still participate in the cost-share program; you’ll just need to contact your county's conservation district. Click here to find your District!
A conservation plan is written for the property or the conservation plan is revised if it is out of date (conservation plans are good for 3 years). The landowner will sign the conservation plan.
If the landowner is eligible for the cost-share program and wants to participate, the landowner will sign and submit Form I as well as a W-9.
Cost-estimates and other information pertaining to the project are pulled together for the practice. The practice is then presented to the Technical Review Committee (TRC) for review, who will then submit the practice to the Board (BOD) for final approval.
The TRC and Board meet about once a month
Once the practice is approved by the BOD, the landowner will install the practice either by hiring a contractor and/or completing the practice on his/her own. The District will provide technical assistance throughout the process.
If the estimated costs for one of the components is greater than $30,000, the landowner is responsible for obtaining 3 bids from different contractors (i.e. if the estimated cost for installing just the buffer fencing is greater than $30,000, the landowner would need 3 bids)
Itemized and dated bills must be kept for all the expenses incurred for the practice. These bills must be submitted to the District at the completion of the practice for review. If the landowner will be installing the practice, then the landowner needs to keep track of his/her time (hours) of labor.
Upon practice completion, District employees will visit the site to certify that the practice has been installed to specifications.
Payment is made based upon itemized bills and approved cost-share, whichever is less. The landowner will sign Part III of the contract, committing to maintain the practice for its lifespan, and will then receive the cost-share check.
The owner is responsible for maintenance of the full system and allowing access to District personnel for random spot checks for the lifespan of the practice.
For more details on the cost-share process, click here.
There are a variety of cost-share practices available for:
For more information on a practice, click on the hyperlink. A new tab/window will open; you may have to refresh the page to see all of the details on that practice.
*Land actively enrolled under another cost-share practice is not eligible
Livestock, Hayland, and/or Crops
*Land actively enrolled under another cost-share practice is not eligible
Contract I (for signing up)
W-9 (Note: the entity listed under Line 1 is who/what will receive the cost-share payments )
Bid Contract Form (must be used when the "estimated cost of any one subcontractor’s scope of work is anticipated to exceed a billable expense in excess of $30,000")
I just bought a farm that’s been in agriculture production for more than 5 years, but I’m new to the area. Can I participate in the cost-share program?
Yes, the criteria is based on the property, not the landowner.
My property in Prince William County is zoned A-1. I’ve lived on my property for several years and want to start a small farm. Do I qualify for the cost-share program?
No. Cost-share requirements are based on the property, not the landowner. The property has to be in agriculture production for the past 5 consecutive years in order to qualify.
My practice has a 10 year lifespan. What happens if I move within the lifespan?
As you are the one who received the cost-share payment, you are responsible for the practice throughout its lifespan, even if you no longer reside at the property. HOWEVER, we have a form available to transfer the responsibility from you to the new landowners. Please notify the District prior to moving for further assistance.
My practice has multiple components. Can I get reimbursed as I complete each component?
No. The entire practice must be completed and verified before payment is submitted
How do I choose a contractor?
Though we cannot recommend a contractor, we do have a list of contractors in the area with their contact information. Contact us and we can give you a copy of the list.
I started construction for my practice before it went through the approval process. Will that affect my application?
Yes. You cannot get reimbursed for anything installed prior to approval. Starting a practice before it’s approved could void your application.
What if I sign-up for the cost-share program, my practice gets approved by the board, but I later change my mind and don’t want to participate?
No problem! You can drop out at any time. The only time you are in a contract is when you receive and cash your cost-share check. If you change your mind and want to participate after you canceled, you’ll have to go through the approval process again. Any work done prior to canceling your practice cannot be reimbursed through the cost-share program.
I have animals in the creek, but I don’t want to participate in the cost-share program because even with the reimbursement, the up-front costs are too high for us. Will I get in trouble?
First of all, we are non-regulatory. That means if we see an environmental concern, we want to work with you at resolving it.
As for the funding, DEQ has a Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan available at 0% interest. To learn more about the loan program or for an application, please visit: https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance/AgriculturalBMP.aspx
I hired a contractor and I want to make sure the practice is installed correctly. What do I do?
Prior to construction, it is a good idea that you and your contractor have a written agreement that the practice will be installed according to our specifications. We also request a meeting with the contractor before construction to go over these specifications and make sure everyone is on the same page.
I want to go above and beyond the specifications. Is that ok?
Of course it’s ok! Just keep in mind that you will only be reimbursed for the minimum amount to make your practice succeed. For example, if one water trough can cover multiple fields, but you want to install a water trough in each field, you will only receive cost-share for the one water trough.
What if a component of my practice is not installed to specs. when you do a final inspection?
Either you or your contractor will need to fix it before we can certify the practice as complete.
I want to participate in one of the SL-6 practices. I understand that SL-6N is for buffers that are less than 35’ and SL-6W is for buffers that are greater than 35’. If I have a buffer that has some areas that are 25’ and the rest is over 35’, would I sign up for SL-6N or SL-6W?
SL-6N. All buffers have to be greater than 35’ in order to participate in SL-6W.
Follow Up: Can I sign part of my property up for SL-6N and part for SL-6W?
Good question, but no. You have to choose between one or the other.
What happens if there is a violation cited during a spot-check?
We will let you know and work with you on correcting the violation. We want to see the practice succeed, so the last thing we want to do is ask for funding back. If the violation will not be corrected, or if the practice is destroyed, funding will need to be returned on a pro-rata basis.
Is cost-share considered taxable income?
Yes. That is one of the main reasons why we need the W-9 when you sign up.
I have questions on how to do my taxes with cost-share. Can the District assist me?
No. The District cannot provide any tax advice. Please consult with your tax adviser.
Acronyms can be confusing, and the cost-share program has plenty of them! Here’s a list of common acronyms you’ll see:
BOD - District Board of Directors
DCR – Department of Conservation and Recreation (state)
DEQ – Department of Environmental Quality (state)
BMP – Best Management Practice (any practice that helps protect the soil and water)
CCI – Continuing Conservation Initiative
CNT – Continuous No-Till
CS – Cost-Share
FR – Forestry
FRB – Forested Riparian Buffer
HRB – Herbacous Riparian Buffer
N – Narrow (buffers that are <35’)
NM – Nutrient Management
NMP – Nutrient Management Plan
SE – Shoreline Erosion
SL – Soil Loss
SWCD – Soil and Water Conservation District (there are 47 districts that cover all agriculture land in Virginia)
TC – Tax-Credit
TRC - Technical Review Committee
VACS – Virginia Agricultural BMP Cost-Share
W – Wide (buffers that are >35’)
WP – Water Protection
WQ – Water Quality