SWCD and Extension to launch Pasture Infrastructure Program

Published 5:03 am Thursday, May 5, 2016

Halifax County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was awarded $161,778 by the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission for its Agribusiness project titled Southern Virginia Pasture Infrastructure Program (SVPIP).

The program is a joint effort among Halifax, Lake Country and Southside SWCDs, Virginia Cooperative Extension and Halifax County Agricultural Development covering the following eight counties: Amelia, Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward. 

SVPIP utilizes a 25 percent cost-share incentive to encourage producers to establish new pasture and increase the ability of livestock producers to implement rotational grazing, along with converting endophyte-infected tall fescue pastures into novel-endophyte tall fescue or warm season grasses. The primary goal of the program is to install practices that increase the ability of producers to graze their livestock (cattle, goats, sheep) more efficiently. 

The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is a 28-member body created by the 1999 General Assembly. Its mission is the promotion of economic growth and development in tobacco-dependent communities, using proceeds of the national tobacco settlement. To date, the commission has awarded 1,940 grants totaling more than $1 billion across the tobacco region of the commonwealth, and has provided $309 million in indemnification payments to tobacco growers and quota holders.

In order to apply and be eligible for cost share funds, interested producers must first attend an orientation session. Four sessions will be offered throughout the region as follows: Meherrin River Hunt Club, May 18, 5-8:30 p.m., 435 Dry Creek Road, Baskerville; Southern Piedmont AREC, May 24, 2-5 p.m., 2375 Darvills Road, Blackstone; Halifax Ag Marketing Center, May 25, 6-9 p.m.. 1001 Farm Way Lane, Halifax; Keysville Volunteer Fire Department, June 2, 6-9 p.m., 500 Osbourne St., Keysville.

For additional information about the program or the orientation sessions, producers should contact Katy Overby, Agriculture and Natural Resources Virginia Cooperative Extension agent for Prince Edward County, at (434) 392-4246 or email hawthoks@vt.edu.