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Agricultural BMP Program
Agricultural BMP Program
SCC has funds available for helping landowners in the Hancock Creek watershed install best management practices (BMP). BMPs can improve the efficiency of farm operations while protecting water quality. Examples of BMPs encouraged by the SCC are rotational grazing, stream exclusion fences, shade structures, and livestock alternative water supplies. These BMPs can increase livestock weight gains, protect against illness and disease, and improve water quality. Rotational grazing creates small paddocks within a large field.

Livestock Grazing & Shelter
The livestock are rotated between each field to optimize forage quality and reduce mud and erosion. When cattle get “turned in” to a field, they will graze the very best forages first, leaving behind less nutritious forages. If only one field is used, overgrazing can occur, which causes vegetation loss from foot traffic, mud creation, and weed overgrowth. Research shows that cattle have a 10-15% drop in weight if they have to spend a lot of time trampling through muck and mud. Mud also greatly increases animal stress, causing them to eat less even though they are burning more calories struggling through the mud. Providing shade for livestock is important for their overall health as well as their productivity. Building structures that provide good shade opportunities can increase weight gain by as much as 20%. Excluding livestock from streams and waterbodies is a great way to protect water and soil resources. Livestock that have free access to these areas run the risk of exposure to at least eleven water-borne diseases. In addition, uncontrolled foot traffic can cause extensive erosion of fertile farmland.

Fence
Adding fencing along creeks can result in emergency livestock pasture area. For example, by moving the fence back from the creek’s floodplain, additional pasture is created. Temporary use of this area during extremely hot, dry conditions still protect the creek while improving livestock grazing conditions. Funding assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis. A 20:80 cost share ratio will be administered to help offset the cost of installing the BMPs with you paying 20% of the cost of the practice and the SCC paying 80%. Your 20% can be in the form of in-kind labor, tools, etc. We hope you’ll consider this opportunity!