GEORGETOWN, Del. — Farmers across Sussex County can now apply for over $1.1 million in funding from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to plant cover crops, over the next three years.
Funding is provided by two USDA NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects focused on improving water quality through soil health. The Chesapeake Bay watershed project is a multi-state project led by Sustainable Chesapeake, a non-profit organization founded in 2012 that works to deliver conservation outcomes that benefit both farmers and the Chesapeake Bay. The Delaware Bay and Inland Bays watershed project is led by the Sussex Conservation District (SCD); local partners include the Delaware Department of Agriculture – Nutrient Management Program, Perdue Farms Inc., Amick Farms, Allen Harim Foods LLC. and Mountaire Farms.
“We are proud to work with numerous partners and provide funding for farmers to plant cover crops across the county,” said Debbie Absher, director of agricultural conservation at SCD. “Cover crops not only improve water quality but also soil health, which in turn can reduce input costs and improve water infiltration.”
“These RCPP projects are a win-win for farmers, they bring valuable resources into Sussex County which enhance the producer’s operation and improve overall water quality,” said David Baird, district coordinator at SCD.
RCPP applications are accepted year-round; however, the first application deadline is Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. All applications received by the deadline will be ranked and considered for funding in Spring 2021.
For more information on eligibility or to complete an application, call the Sussex County USDA Service Center at 302-856-3990, ext. 3.
RCPP promotes coordination between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and its partners to address resource concerns on privately-owned agricultural and forest lands. To learn more about Delaware NRCS, visit www.de.nrcs.usda.gov. To learn more about Sustainable Chesapeake, visit www.susches.org. To learn more about SCD, visit www.sussexconservation.org.
–Siobhan Kelley, Sussex Conservation District