Farmers Use Local Funds to Improve Conservation Techniques


MT. CRAWFORD, Va. (WHSV) -- A new program in the Valley is trying to keep toxins like manure out of our water. The ACRES grant program would provide between $1,000 to 3,000 to farms or businesses in an effort to improve conservation.

One local farmer in Mt. Crawford is doing what he can to stop runoff on the farm into a nearby creek. The Kooglers are getting some local and federal help for their projects.

With many farmers on tight budgets, they say that extra funding is key to keeping things clean.

"It takes a lot of money and especially for someone like me. A young farmer, just starting out, you know funds are tight as it is so any grant money like that is certainly helpful," said Barry Koogler, owner of Koogler Farm.

Barry Koogler runs Koogler farm now after his father Jim passed it on to him. Koogler is building a cattle herd and also raises turkeys on the farm.

"Wintertime especially the barnyard can get very wet and so that moisture then will run off and run down to the creek and into the creek," said Koogler.

Barry does what he can to soak up the moisture, but some of it, mixed in with manure, does run into the creek. With the help of the Farm Services Agency and the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, he will have the money for a new barn.

"Basically just try to eliminate as much erosion as possible and as much runoff," said Jim Koogler, the prior owner.

Koogler plans to fence off the creek and also have a covered feed area.

"If he can get that done, it would make a huge difference in the water quality," said Jim Koogler.

Barry said for many farmers, extra funding to help get projects moving is useful.

"Budgets are tight their profits are small, profit margins are small, so any assistance that they can get to help them with this sort of thing is certainly helpful," said Koogler.

The new grant program is through the Valley Conservation Council and the Staunton Creative Community fund. Organizers say they haven't received any grant applications from farmers or food businesses just yet, because the program is so new.


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