DOVER — The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service encourages all agricultural producers in Delaware to apply for conservation resources to improve the health and productivity of their farmlands, according to a news release.
The service provides technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program and the Farm Management Assistance Program. The first application deadline for FY2023 funding is Nov. 18, the USDA said.
Assistance can help Delaware farmers and landowners plan and implement conservation practices to improve soil, water, plants, animals, air and related resources on forest lands eligible agricultural and non-industrial. Popular practices include waste storage structures, heavy use areas, elevated tunnels, energy, cover crops, irrigation water management, poultry shelterbelts and more yet, the USDA said.
The USDA is focusing on two initiatives:
• Northern Quail effort is designed to increase suitable wildlife habitat. A separate pool of funds is available for Wildlife Practices to manage nesting cover, brood-rearing habitat, foraging habitat, and escape cover for Bobwhite Quail in priority areas across the country. ‘State.
• Black Duck effort helps reduce threats to critical habitat. A separate fund pool is available to create shallow water ponds and other wetland practices to support habitat development.
USDA conservationists will work with growers to develop a conservation plan on their land to identify concerns and opportunities, help determine goals and recommend solutions.
Applications are accepted year-round; however, Delaware producers with applications before November 18 will have a better chance of being approved as funding is limited. Two additional application deadlines are scheduled for the third Friday of March and May 2023.
To be eligible for program assistance, producers must have an eligible resource concern on their farm at the time of application. Historically underserved producers can request advance payments for practices from the incentive program, which provides the producer with a payment of at least 50% for implementing the practice.
To apply for financial assistance, contact a 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 about programs and services is available on the Delaware NRCS website at de.nrcs.usda.gov.