A farm plan is a document developed by your Conservation District and you, the farmer or landowner. It is a series of actions developed to meet a farmer’s goals while protecting water quality and the natural resources. Some of the things considered in a farm plan are farm size, soils type, slope of the land, proximity to streams or water bodies, type of livestock or crops, the farmer’s goals, resources such as machinery or buildings and finances available. An important point to remember is you don’t have to be a commercial operation to have a farm plan developed for you - the King Conservation District works with farms of all sizes, from backyard horse owners to dairy and beef operations!
First, the Conservation District will address potential water quality concerns by suggesting changes that may be made. Possible examples include streamside fencing, gutters and downspouts and manure management techniques. Then the Conservation District will look at other changes that can be made to improve farm productivity and reduce the impact on the natural resources. Some examples here include pasture renovation, weed management techniques, creating sacrifice areas, cross fencing, and pasture restoration of livestock. The Conservation District offers technical assistance on questions such as what grasses to plant, how to build a fence and when to mow.
The suggestions made by the Conservation District are reviewed by the farmer. Together they develop a plan and schedule for accomplishing the changes they decide on. The farmer may decide to act on some of the changes in the first year and others in coming years - farm plans often include work over a number of years. Once the farmer and the Conservation District have made their decisions, a tentative implementation schedule is set and their plans are recorded. One copy is kept with the farmer and one is kept on record with the Conservation District. Revisions of the plan can be made as the goals and needs of the farmer change.
Another important point is that all services provided by the King CD are free and without obligation. The King Conservation District is a non-regulatory, non-enforcement Municipal Corporation of the State of Washington supported by grants and a conservation assessment. It is charged with the duties of protecting the soil and water of King County, particularly as it relates to farming and animal keeping practices, through technical assistance and education.
A farm plan may assist you in meeting the requirements of King County’s Livestock Management Ordinance. The Ordinance was passed by the King County Council in 1994 with enforcement commencing on January 1, 1999. It requires livestock owners in King County to meet certain management standards, which will result in an improved environment within the county. Additional information about the Ordinance may be found on the Livestock Programs page of the King County website.
If you would like to help your farm become a better place for you, your animals and the environment contact the Conservation District at (425) 282-1897 and talk to a farm planner.