The Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share (VACS) program has distributed more than $200 million dollars to help thousands of farmers and landowners implement practices like stream exclusion fencing and forest buffers, which help prevent pollution from reaching local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. In 2018, the Coalition’s Communications Workgroup partnered with our Virginia members to demonstrate the need for increased and sustained funding for the VACS program to the Virginia General Assembly.
The workgroup identified and created materials that would be helpful in conducting educational outreach to newly elected officials, including one-pagers, before and after photos of projects, testimonials, and talking points. The workgroup also determined that a series of videos highlighting Virginia farmers utilizing the state cost-share program would help to elevate this issue.
The Coalition interviewed three different farmers from strategic areas of Virginia about their experience with the VACS program and why the funding is so important. What the videos show is that farmers not only benefit economically from installing these projects, but they also understand the importance of conservation and want to protect their local waterways.