DOVER, Del. — Delaware agricultural producers are encouraged 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 administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The first application cutoff date for fiscal year 2020 is February 21, 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.
“Our farmers are committed to being the best stewards of the land,” said NRCS State Conservationist Kasey Taylor. “Our programs are simply another resource to help them achieve their conservation goals.”
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 year, Delaware approved a combined 184 EQIP and AMA contracts covering 39,600 acres for a total of $7.3 million.
NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off deadlines. Delaware producers with applications in before February 21 will have a higher chance of application approval as funding is limited. Additional application cutoff dates are scheduled for the third Friday of each month until May 15, 2020.
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, USDA, NRCS