What is a small farm? We define a small farm as a non-commercial operation, sometimes called a hobby farm, usually between 5 and 40 acres. Small farm owners typically maintain a career off the farm but enjoy the lifestyle that living on a small acreage farm provides. Small acreage farms in Whatcom County often include beef cows, pigs, horse, mink, poultry, llama, goat, sheep and/or others.
Our goals and yours… The purpose of a farm conservation plan, as defined by Whatcom County’s Critical Areas Ordinance, is to ensure your agricultural practices do not negatively impact critical areas. Through the process of creating and following a farm plan, you assess your farm goals and objectives, while acknowledging the ways that you will actively (rather than passively) manage your animals and your land in a way that is protective of water quality and habitat associated with critical areas on or near your property. You’ll find that what protects our environment also benefits you through better livestock health and through better forage production that can save you money in the long run!
How can we assist you? Whatcom Conservation District staff may be available to assist you with farm management options and help you understand current environmental laws that have been put in place to protect water quality and habitat associated with critical areas. Implementing a farm plan that incorporates "best management practices" will help ensure compliance with environmental laws and will also make your farm a better place to live economically and aesthetically. Whatcom Conservation District is a non-enforcement agency. Based on current funding (we are largely funded through grant monies), we may be able to provide education and technical assistance to help you develop a farm plan. Revisit this site for workshops and tour dates.
|What is a Farm Conservation Plan?||Small Farm Resources|
|Farm Management Tips Booklet||Composting Guide|
|Farm Conservation Plan Checklist||Upcoming Workshops and Tours|
|Best Management Factsheets|
See WHAT IS A FARM PLAN page for more information.
Come by the Whatcom Conservation District office to pick up a free Farm Management Tips booklet. This 20 page full color booklet explains the Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can assist you with livestock management practices such as controlling mud, composting manure, pasture management, protecting streams and wetlands and much more!
The Tips booklet introduces Whatcom County farm planning regulations and recommended practices that livestock owners can use to minimize negative environmental impacts of their agricultural activities.
- WEST NILE VIRUS and MOSQUITO MANAGEMENT INFORMATION
- Will my livestock operation require a Permit? (1.2MB PDF)
- Horses for Clean Water Guide (1.7Mb PDF)
- Tips on Land and Water Management for Small Farm and Livestock Owners in Western Washington (685Kb PDF)
- If you need to rent a container for your stall waste contact Sanitary Service Company for rates or the WCD for details.
General soil questions and soil type information available at the WCD office
Soil and forage feed testing- local analysis available at:
Custom Dairy Services
8895 Guide Meridian
Lynden, WA 98264
- Ag Plastics Recycling
The guide is written for use by landowners with small ‘hobby’ farms in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Island, San Juan, Jefferson and Clallam counties and contains information about using composting as an option for managing livestock waste. The guide has information on why composting may be a good alternative for waste management, how to begin composting, and how best to manage your compost pile. The booklet also contains several compost bin designs and information on siting your bin.
CompostNW.zip - Small Farm Composting Guide