The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications from Delaware’s agricultural producers who want to improve natural resources and address concerns on their land. Farmers can apply now for technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program. The first application cutoff date for fiscal year 2018 is October 20, 2017 for both EQIP and AMA.
Assistance is available through EQIP and AMA to help farmers plan and implement conservation practices to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. Popular practices include waste storage structures, heavy use area pads, energy, cover crops, irrigation water management, poultry windbreaks and more.
NRCS conservationists will work with producers to develop a conservation plan on their land to identify concerns and opportunities, help determine objectives and recommend solutions. “Developing a conservation plan expedites the program application process by improving the application ranking score for financial assistance, and allows farmers to apply practices more strategically,” said Kasey Taylor, Delaware NRCS State Conservationist.
The recommended practices from the conservation planning process will be put in the program contract for implementation.
In FY 2016, Delaware approved 189 EQIP contracts covering 30,640 acres for a total of $8.5 million.
NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off deadlines. Producers with applications in before October 20 will have a higher chance of application approval as funding is limited. Additional application cutoff dates are scheduled for the third Friday of each month until May 18, 2018.
To be eligible for program assistance, producers must have an eligible resource concern on their operation at the time of application.
To apply for financial assistance, contact your local USDA Service Center. In Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext. 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3. Additional information on NRCS programs and services is available on the Delaware NRCS Web site at www.de.nrcs.usda.gov.