DOVER, Del. — The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging Delaware’s agricultural producers to apply for technical and financial assistance to improve the health and productivity of their agricultural land. Assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program. The first application cutoff date for fiscal year (FY) 2021 is December 4, 2020 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 forest land. 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.
Last fiscal year, Delaware approved a combined 150 EQIP and AMA contracts covering 19,600 acres for a total of $7.1 million.
NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off deadlines. Delaware producers with applications in before December 4, 2020 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 7, 2021.
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 prior to 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 Web site at www.de.nrcs.usda.gov.
–Dastina Wallace, NRCS