The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in Delaware is encouraging farmers and forest landowners to sign up by Friday, April 30, for financial and technical assistance to expand existing conservation activities on their agricultural land.
Assistance is now available through the updated Conservation Stewardship Program to help agricultural producers take conservation activities to the next level.
“CSP continues to be an effective tool for helping producers achieve their conservation and management goals,” said Kasey Taylor, NRCS state conservationist in Delaware. “Together, we can develop a plan to build on your existing conservation efforts while strengthening your operation.”
Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land.
CSP is for working lands including cropland, pastureland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a tribe. Participating farmers will further address priority resource concerns related to soil quality, water quality, air quality and plant health. On-farm benefits include increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife population improvements, and better resilience to weather variables.
The 2018 Farm Bill made some improvements to the program that will benefit Delaware farmers, including higher payment rates for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource-conserving crop rotations. The bill provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities.
While applications are accepted throughout the year, the deadline is April 30 for funding in fiscal year 2021. To request an application, Sussex County producers may call 302-856-3990, Ext. 3 or go to de.nrcs.usda.gov.