The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation‘s Virginia Resource Management Planning program provides a voluntary way to promote the use of conservation practices that improve farming operations and water quality. Resource management plans can help farm owners and operators take advantage of all the conservation measures at their disposal. The plans are designed to encourage farmers, either the farm owner or operator, to use a high level of best management practices (BMPs) that reduce runoff pollution to local waters and, in many cases, improve the farmer’s financial bottom line.
A VA Resource Management Plan (RMP) is a comprehensive conservation plan that includes proven agricultural best management practices to ensure the farm is meeting a conservation farming standard. A farmer’s decision to have an RMP written, or to implement the plan, is completely voluntary.
The plans are written by certified RMP developers and are specific to the farm operation. Once all required BMPs are implemented, the RMP can be certified. In addition to the environmental benefit to the operation and the community, RMP certification means several things for the farmer, including “certainty” that they are considered environmentally compliant. Should more stringent state regulations be adopted, the certified RMP farm operation is considered already compliant with any nutrient and sediment-water quality measures needed to meet the state’s water quality goals for both the Chesapeake Bay and local waters. The certification is valid for nine years provided the farmer continues to implement the RMP.
In FY21, the District Board approved the review of eight (8) RMPs by the District’s Technical Review Committee (TRC). The Board approved the certification inspections of all eight plans. All eight have reached RMP certification totaling 1,806.3 Southern Rivers acres. Additionally, the District Board has also approved another eleven (11) plans reviewed by the District’s TRC. These plans are in the implementation stage and total 742.5 Chesapeake Bay acres and 824.1 Southern Rivers acres.