County Seeks NRCS Help To Expedite Nutrient Plans

Hardy County farmers who want to include structures, such as litter sheds or feed lots in their Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans are having to pay more and wait longer for approval. To hopefully expedite the situation the Hardy County Commission approved a letter to Louis Aspey, acting state director of the US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Hardy County Commission met on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

NRCS provides cost share programs for agriculture producers who submit and follow best practices in Nutrient Management Plans. Some of these best practices include buffers for streams in pastures, careful adherence to litter and other fertilizer applications and pasture rotation. 

“The problem seems to be when the nutrient management plans include structures,” said Commissioner David Workman. “Those structures need engineering services, which may not be available locally and may be costly, as much as $10,000.”

While NRCS will provide a 75 percent cost share, Workman said, the farmer is still responsible for the 25 percent, “which can be significant.”

In addition, the engineering requirements are increasing the time it takes for the approval process to be completed. 

“We understand the WVDA (West Virginia Department of Agriculture) is doing well with the nutrient management planning side of the plan, but that engineering services are not available either through NRCS or WVDA to satisfy the requirements to complete the Comprehensive Plan required,” the letter stated. “Producers are therefore having to seek engineering services elsewhere that are in some cases very costly even with the cost share arrangements available.

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The next meeting of the Hardy County Commission will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 7 beginning at 9 a.m. Anyone wishing to be included on the agenda should contact the County Clerk’s office at 304-530-0250. The meetings are open to the public.