GEORGETOWN, Del. — The Sussex Conservation District (SCD) board of supervisors voted to approve the annual cost share program and increase incentives for the cover crop cost share program at the board meeting on Aug. 24. The cover crop program funding cap was increased, from $40,000 to $75,000, and the planting deadline was extended, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 15.
“SCD secured over $3 million in funding for cover crops and has set a goal of 75,000 acres of cover crops to be planted in Sussex County this fall,” said Debbie Absher, director of agricultural programs at SCD. “We hope increased financial incentives will encourage the over 260 applicants to plant more acres while the longer planting window will give them more time to help us reach our goal.”
This year producers enrolled 8,088 more acres in the cover crop program than the previous year. Many farmers are already realizing the benefits of planting cover crops through increased soil health and improved organic matter. Over time this leads to improved soil structure and stability as well as increased nutrient cycling and moisture holding capacity. These properties improve water quality by increasing nutrient uptake and improving infiltration while reducing erosion and sediment runoff. Producers also report lower operating costs after implementing cover crops.
Funding for SCDs cover crop cost share program is provided through the Delaware General Assembly, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control Non-Point Source and Chesapeake Bay programs, Sussex County Council, and the United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service.
For more information on SCDs cost share or cover crop programs, visit www.sussexconservation.org or call 302-856-3990, ext. 3.
–Siobhan Kelley, Sussex Conservation District