Accomack Co. growers cleared to share manure
RICHMOND, Va. — Accomack County poultry growers will now be able to move manure off the Eastern Shore to farmland in southeast Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation added Accomack as a “source county” to its poultry litter transport incentive program in July, joining Rockingham and Page counties.
Under the program, the state’s three bird-heavy source counties are permitted to send poultry manure to low-phosphorous farmland in specified regions across the state. The government offers incentive payments to receiving landowners to defray transportation costs.
Accomack producers will be able to move their manure to a collection of counties in southeast Virginia, stretching from Virginia Beach west to Greensville and north to New Kent. Twelve total counties in that region are eligible to receive Accomack manure, which is acquired and shipped through brokers. The state will pay farms in those counties $20 per ton to receive manure. Payments within the larger program vary based on need and travel distance.
So far, the state has processed two requests to receive manure from Accomack, said Cynthia Williams, nutrient management technician at the state’s conservation and recreation department.
“It might get ramped up when people start thinking about applying manure in the spring,” she said.
Williams urged farmers to apply now for the program, particularly if they lack a required nutrient management plan, which can take significant time to organize.
The state expanded its incentive program this year as it moves into the third and final phase of its federally-mandated Watershed Improvement Plan, which seeks to lower the amount of nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay, among several other restoration goals, by 2025.
“The (transportation incentive) program simply didn’t have as much funding, frankly, in the past,” Williams said.
Last year, the program had $80,000. It served between 20 and 25 farmers seeking manure. This year, the department boosted funding to $250,000, and the Virginia Poultry Federation offered an additional $40,000, Williams said.
“It’s a renewed emphasis on moving litter out of these hotspots,” she said.
More information about the litter incentive program, including request forms, can be found at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water/nmlitter.