Charleston, WV - West Virginia farmers can save up to half of their liming bills starting August 1, thanks to a new incentive program being offered by the Little Kanawha Conservation District and the West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA). Farmers with eligible lands can receive a 50 percent cost-share for lime they purchase to improve their grasslands.

"Grasslands provide critical ecological benefits and play a key role in environmental quality, as well as contributing to the economies of many rural areas," said WVCA Executive Director Truman Wolfe. "Grassland forage is the number one agriculture product in the majority of West Virginia counties, and is also a vital component of our state's animal production. This program is aimed at promoting active management of this land in a way that benefits farmers and the environment."

Besides providing high-quality food for livestock, healthy grasslands prevent soil erosion, protect streams from excessive run-off and help to minimize the effects of flooding.

Eligibility requirements include:

Landowner must be owner/operator with the need to sign-up as a District Cooperator.

Apply this practice to land that needs maintenance, improvement or protection. This will be with the recommendation of the State Technical Committee.

Land must be established in permanent grasses and/or legumes.

Land must be used for agricultural purposes. Priority will be given to pasture/grasslands. Haylands will be given second priority.

A current soil test must be filed with the Conservation District.

The requirement for application will be determined by the certified soil sample.

Land shall not have been planted in an annual row crop for a minimum of five years prior to the practice application.

If the field which the practice is being requested is under contract, that field is ineligible for the West Virginia Lime Incentive Program.

Other cooperating agencies include the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and USDA Farm Service Agency.

Sign ups will start August 1st. For more information, contact the Little Kanawha Conservation District at 422-9088.

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