The Virginia Resource Management Planning Program provides a voluntary way to promote the use of conservation practices that improve farming operations and water quality. Resource management plans can help farm owners and operators take advantage of all the conservation measures at their disposal. The plans are designed to encourage farmers, either the farm owner or operator, to use a high level of best management practices (BMPs) that reduce runoff pollution to local waters and, in many cases, improve the farmer’s financial bottom line. In return for full implementation, the plan holder can be assured that he or she is in compliance with any new state nutrient, sediment and water quality standards; in particular, regulations related to the Chesapeake Bay and all local stream segment TMDLs. The certificate of safe harbor is valid for nine years provided the farmer continues to implement the RMP. Participation in the program is completely voluntary.