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.
Livestock BMP's implemented for adequate grazing rotation
Voluntary stewardship practices,
Energy efficient irrigation practices
Our conservation planners can assist with planning, implementation, and in some cases, funding for projects like:
livestock watering systems
irrigation and energy efficiency
coordinated resource management
facilitating Salmon-Safe Certification
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?
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.
Agricultural Production Projects
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.
Salmon Safe Certification Program
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.