CLARKSBURG W.Va. – Reducing weeds is important for any farmer – and the West Virginia Conservation Agency wants to help with that.

Five farms across the state will be picked to start their pilot program to help reduces weeds in a cost-share system.

“The goal of the program is for farms who want to include their pasture productivity, the sustainability on their farm, and also conserve soil which is an important part of our mission with the West Virginia Conservation Agency. All while reducing undesirable weed species by about 95%,” Davin White, WVCA Communications specialist, said.

“We know that an intergraded approach to weed management will work, but how it will work out in a cost-share program is a whole different story. So this is a way to test that out and essentially work out the kinks of the program prior to opening it up state-wide for any and every farmer to sign up for,” Dennis Burns, a WVCA Conservation Specialist, said.

The farmers that are picked for the program will have to commit to using multiple practices like chemical herbicide control, mowing, and rotational grazing of livestock to managed specific species of weeds for at least three to five years.

The program will help WVCA while helping the farmers.

“First this would help them manage weeds on their farm but it’s also gonna help increase production, the productivity on their farms, so that is of a benefit to the farmer,” White said.

And these farmer will also be helping the state.

“When you have a high amount of weeds and brush and things like that on your farm, theirs a couple of things that happen to the forage community. Number one quality goes down because a lot of times those weeds will restrict sunlight and of course the plant uses sunlight to build sugars which builds proteins and nutrients and energy,” Burns explained. “Also, it decreases production because essentially dilutes the amount of ground that you have to grow the good high-quality forages that livestock needs to eat. Also, from the standpoint of moral high ground, in general, taking care of your ground and managing for good cool-season grasses as opposed to a lot of the weeds does help maintain better ground cover, which helps prevent soil erosion and decreases the overall amount of sediment that we have going into our streams and also helps the ground take on more water during heavy rain events.”

Farmers can sign up any time before April 30 be calling their conservation districts below:

  • The Elk Conservation District (Braxton, Nicholas, Clay, and Webster counties) can be reached at: (304) 765-2535.
  • Monongahela Conservation District (Monongalia, Marion, and Preston counties) can be reached at: (304) 941-2326.
  • Potomac Valley Conservation District (Mineral, Hampshire, Hardy, Grant, and Pendleton counties) can be reached at: (304) 822-5174.
  • Southern Conservation District (Fayette, Raleigh, Summers, Mercer, McDowell, and Wyoming counties) at: (304) 253-0261.
  • Western Conservation District (Mason, Jackson, and Putnam counties) at (304) 675-3054.