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Agricultural Production

Farmers. Ranchers. Orchardists. Foresters. Thank you for growing the food and fiber we need to survive and thrive. We’re here to help you care for Okanogan County's natural resources and agricultural economy.

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Livestock BMP's implemented for adequate grazing rotation

farmer and intern measuring cover crop growth

Voluntary stewardship practices,
soil monitoring 

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Energy efficient irrigation practices

Our conservation planners can assist with planning, implementation, and in some cases, funding for projects like:
 

Contact us even if your concern isn't listed here. We'll help you find the resources you need. Are you trying to reach NRCS or the Farm Services Agency?

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Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP)

In 2011, Okanogan County chose to participate in the Voluntary Stewardship Program, an incentive-based alternative approach to the Growth Management Act (GMA). VSP has two primary objectives: protect critical areas on agricultural land and maintain and improve the long-term viability of agriculture. VSP is NOT a set of new regulations; its purpose is to focus and maximize voluntary incentive programs that already exist. Participation is voluntary and the program only applies where agricultural activities and critical areas overlap. To fill out the checklist, click here.

Okanogan County stakeholders completed a VSP Work Plan which was approved by the State of Washington Conservation Commission in 2018. The plan offers a locally driven, grassroots approach to managing interactions between critical areas and agricultural activities, rather than 'one-size-fits-all' regulation. Also available: Okanogan County VSP Biennial Report. For more information, email us.

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VSP

Irrigation Efficiencies Program

Washington’s Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program (IEGP) restores instream flows in rivers and streams determined to not have enough water for fish populations and other competing needs. The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) works with conservation districts to provide financial incentives – up to 85 percent of total project costs – to landowners willing to install irrigation systems that save water. The water saved helps increase the stream flow in tributaries where ESA (Endangered Species Act)-listed species will benefit. And, in most cases, the more efficient irrigation systems lead to increased crop production due to reduced water stress.

Program Factsheet

Save Water Save Energy

This program is available to agricultural producers who are Okanogan PUD customers. Rebates are available for the following projects:

  • Freeze Resistant Stock Water Tanks/Fountains

  • Irrigation Pump Testing and System Analysis (BPA Qualified)

  • VFD installations on new or existing pumps

  • Irrigation System Upgrades
     

2022 Program Information:

English

Spanish

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Salmon Safe

Salmon Safe Certification Program

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The Salmon Safe ecolabel provides market recognition to farms that promote healthy ecosystems. Okanogan CD is working with Salmon Safe to facilitate certification for agricultural producers in Okanogan County. 

The watershed view of land management means that you don’t need to own a salmon stream, or even border a water body at all to be eligible. Salmon Safe supports the idea that sustainable land management of all habitat types has a positive contribution to water quality improvement and habitat protection. Salmon Safe supports and recognizes those who strive to make their downstream impact a positive one. 

For more information, contact us. You can also visit the Salmon Safe website,  salmonsafe.org/certification/farms/ to learn more about the certification process and requirements.

Ag Projects
Podcast

Agricultural Production Projects

Virtual Fencing

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Collars communicate the defined virtual fence boundary to cattle.

The Okanogan Conservation District is working with partners; WSCC WDFW, Conservation Northwest, and The Mule Deer Foundation, in support of the use of this new technology, a virtual fencing option. This option allows ranchers to replace or remove existing cross fence with fencing constructed from their computer at home. Virtual fencing can improve livestock management strategies, including increased grazing utilization. 

Traditional cross fencing has allowed for grazing utilization to remain under 40% utilization, however, to cover the necessary amount of space this can be an expensive option with the average mile of fencing cost at $20,000. Virtual fencing allows for an infinite amount of cross fence and it can be developed at a computer and easily adjusted. 

The process includes the installation of towers taht communicate to the animal through a collar. 95% of cattle learn quickly and react well to signaling that defines fence lines. With this new technology, we are still learning of its capabilities and faults. We anticipate virtual fencing to be a benefit to land managers, the public and wildlife alike. 

The Direct Farm Podcast

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The Direct Farm Podcast has over 100  episodes on various farm-related subjects.

Check them out!

Watch this episode of The Direct Farm Podcast to hear from Dan Kent and Michael Devany. Learn more about Devany's personal experience in becoming the first salmon-safe certified farm in Okanogan County!

This informative, fast-paced podcast discussion shares details about the program and benefits of becoming salmon-safe certified, what the certification process looks like, and how partners such as Okanogan CD can help!

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