Time seems to slow down in the Shenandoah Valley, where the pastoral act of raising livestock for a living appears as unchanged by the years as the emerald-green hills on either side of Interstate 81. But almost a decade has passed since Virginia first set a goal to have farmers build fences along nearly every Chesapeake Bay-bound stream that livestock could otherwise access in the state.
As much as animals like to wade in and drink from the streams that cut across countless pastures here, their hooves and feces wreak havoc on local and regional water quality. For two decades, federal and state governments have provided varying levels of funding to reimburse farmers who install fences and alternative watering sources.[Continue Reading]