Guest post from Buzzy! Thanks, Buzzy!
Thanks to Haute Pasture, Buzzy recently attended the “Women and Land” workshop, put on by the Virginia Department of Forestry. They gathered together four different federal, state, and local agencies, and introduced the 36+ women in attendance to all their services. Turns out, the government actually offers some great programs and cost share incentives! I would encourage anyone who has even a small amount of land to call the agencies directly; they seemed incredibly willing to do phone consultations, site visits, etc. Here are some tidbits to get you thinking about the possibilities:
- Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District will pay to convert turf grass to either native grasses or trees.
- TJSWC will also help you with a rain barrel and rain garden.
- The Natural Resources Conservation Service can provide you with watering system plans for your livestock, plant establishment guides, and all kinds of other expertise. Their website features this amazing Web Soil Survey where you can find out all about your land’s soil content, even to the point of knowing what will grow best, whether it will perk, and which sites are the best building sites.
- The Farm Service Agency has 41 field offices in the state, and will give farming advice, as well as provide low-cost farm loans — particularly to those of us who are “socially disadvantaged” farmers!
- The Forestry department will pay you to thin your pine trees so that they grow better and don’t invite the dreaded pine beetle. They even told Buzzy at what diameter trunk she needs to start thinking about this!
Essentially, farmers and ranchers have a whole panel of experts just a phone call away. Buzzy’s got some dialing to do!