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AGRICULTURAL STEWARDSHIP

A POSITIVE APPROACH - Working in cooperation with Virginia's Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Our objective is to work with farmers and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to resolve, in a timely and commonsense manner, water quality problems reported to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) concerning nutrients, sediment and toxins from agricultural activities.

Why Is This Program Important?
Virginia's agricultural community has for years promoted stewardship of our land and water resources. As a show of commitment to this concept, agricultural leaders supported the passage of the Agricultural Stewardship Act (ASA) during the 1996 General Assembly. The ASA program gives the farmer an opportunity to correct a water quality problem voluntarily before any enforcement action is taken. The ASA can also be an opportunity to educate all parties involved regarding best management practices and agriculture.

How Is The Program Structured?
The ASA program is administered by the VDACS Commissioner's Office which will receive all complaints. If a complaint is under the jurisdiction of the ASA, the local Soil and Water Conservation District is contacted and given the opportunity to investigate. After a complaint is investigated, the Commissioner's Office reviews the findings and determines if the complaint is founded and requires further action under the ASA. If so, the farmer is required to develop a plan to correct the problem and then complete plan implementation within eighteen months. The Commissioner's Office contacts complainants to inform them of the findings.

What Kinds Of Activities Are Not Covered By The Act?
The ASA does not cover agricultural activities subject to water quality permits from the Department of Environmental Quality, forestry activities, air pollution, odor concerns, and landfills or waste problems that do not involve agricultural products and that have no clear water quality impact.

Link to Farm*A*Syst, a program which partners government and private business and enables individuals to prevent pollution on farms, ranches, and homes.

What Are Examples Of Water Quality Problems?
Water quality problems may be caused by nutrients from manure in feed lot runoff, sediment from erosion on crop fields, toxins from pesticide runoff, etc.

ASA Coverage/Contact Information
For questions regarding the Agricultural Stewardship Act Program or to file a complaint, please contact the regional coordinator.

Important Links:

Agriculture Stewardship Annual Report
Agriculture Stewardship Guidelines

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