The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications from Delaware agricultural producers who are interested in conservation activities to improve the health and productivity of their agricultural land. Financial and technical assistance are available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program. The first application cutoff deadline for fiscal year (FY) 2022 funding is October 15, 2021.
EQIP and AMA assistance are available 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 forest land. Popular practices include waste storage structures, heavy use area pads, high tunnels, energy, cover crops, irrigation water management, poultry windbreaks and more.
Delaware NRCS is highlighting a target species, Northern Bobwhite Quail, in FY 2022. Our wildlife fund-pool is available for wildlife practices to manage for nesting cover, brood-rearing habitat, forage habitat and escape cover for bobwhites in priority areas throughout the state.
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.
In fiscal year 2021, Delaware approved a combined 105 EQIP and AMA contracts covering nearly 14,000 acres for a total of $6 million.
NRCS accepts applications year-round; however, Delaware producers with applications in before October 15, 2021 will have a higher chance of application approval as funding is limited. Additional application cutoff dates are scheduled for the first Friday of each month until May 20, 2022.
To be eligible for program assistance, producers must have an eligible resource concern on their agricultural operation at the time of application. Historically underserved producers may request advance payments for EQIP practices, which provides the producer with a payment of at least 50 percent for practice implementation.
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 website at www.de.nrcs.usda.gov.