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Commonwealth's Counties

Goat grazing bill stricken for the year

Legislation seeking to authorize local governments to use goat herds for “flash grazing” to control overgrowth along stream banks has been stricken for the year at the request of the patron.

SB 648 (Boysko) allowed a local government that procures and utilizes goats for the temporary grazing of stream buffers to remain in compliance with a resource management plan for pasture land. Such compliance qualifies the locality for matching grants for agricultural best management practices provided through the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program. The bill also clarifies that such grazing is not prohibited by certain provisions of the State Water Control Law.

As reported previously in Capitol Contact, SB 648 was first heard last week by the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, which expressed concerns with the water quality impact of flash grazing as well as the overly broad nature of the bill.  The bill was passed by for the week to give the patron time to work on amendments, but ultimately the requisite changes appear to have been too much to work through in such a short time.  As such, the patron requested the bill be stricken from the docket and will not be heard again this session.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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