Connecting you and grassland birds to conservation money

Piedmont Grassland Bird Initiative has its own financial incentives program

Enrollment for 2022 is now closed.
Congratulations to our participating farmers - we collectively enrolled more than 1800 acres into grassland bird conservation practices.
Stay tuned for a call for applicants for 2023!

PGBI partners are incentivizing the adoption of two different best management practices (BMPs) that have been vetted to simultaneously protect grassland birds during their vulnerable nesting season, contribute to building more holistic landscape resiliency, and be financially viable for producers. 

These BMPs include (1) delayed spring haying, and (2) summer pasture stockpiling. 

With funding support from the Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative, PGBI is excited to be offering incentive payments to farmers willing to adopt one (or both) of the following best management practices that protect grassland birds during the critical breeding season.

Delayed Haying for Hay Producers

Delayed Haying: Delay the first spring cutting of hay on select fields until July 15 or later and withhold livestock, tractor/UTV activity, and other disturbances such as herbicide and fertilizer applications during this time. 

Benefits to producers: Allows producers to strategically spread out labor requirements and could lead to potential for marketing farm and products as bird friendly. Higher fiber, more mature hay is suitable for feeding dry cows, horses, and retired animals, as well as for mushroom hay and bedding. Land stays eligible for agricultural land use tax deferral.

Summer Pasture Stockpiling for Cattle Producers

Summer Pasture Stockpiling: Rotate cattle off select fields by April 15 and keep these fields clear of livestock, tractor/UTV activity, mowing, and other disturbances such as herbicide and fertilizer applications until August 1 or later.

Benefits to producers: Bridges the summer dormancy gap by providing standing forage in late summer without the risk and cost of planting summer annuals. Provides the opportunity to rest and prepare other fields for fall/winter stockpiling with the goal of reducing hay feeding days and annual feed cost.

If you’re interested in learning more about the incentives program, contact PGBI Co-coordinator October Greenfield by email at or by phone at (540) 347-2334 x7051.

Incentives Program Steering Committee:

Justin Proctor, Coordinator of the Piedmont Grassland Bird Initiative, Smithsonian’s Virginia Working Landscapes

October Greenfield, Co-coordinator of the Piedmont Grassland Bird Initiative, The Piedmont Environmental Council

Jacob Gilley, Mid-Atlantic Sustainable Grazing Manager, American Farmland Trust

Celia Vuocolo, Private Lands Biologist, Quail Forever

Amy Johnson, Program Director, Virginia Working Landscapes

Mike Kane, Director of Conservation, The Piedmont Environmental Council

Tim Mize, Unit Coordinator and Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources – Animal Science, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Laura Lecker, Technical Director, Somerset County SWCD