DOVER, Del., November 19, 2012 – State Conservationist Russell Morgan
today announced that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS) is currently accepting applications from Delaware farmers on
three national conservation initiatives. The On-Farm Energy, Organic,
and Seasonal High Tunnel initiatives offer producers technical and
financial assistance to address respective resource concerns.
Although applications will be taken on a continuous basis throughout the
year, Delaware’s three application cut-off dates for FY2013 will end on
Dec. 21, 2012, Jan. 18, and Feb. 15, 2013. The assistance, funded
through the NRCS
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), will be announced
after Congressional approval of the new Farm Bill.
“Even without a funding announcement to date, we’re moving forward with
sign-up as if the Initiatives will continue,” said Morgan. “Farmers
interested in applying should do so now. Applications are more likely
to be funded when received early since funds may not be available for
later cutoff dates, due to limited funds.”
On-Farm Energy Initiative: Financial assistance is available for
Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) or farm energy audits that
assess energy consumption on an operation. The audit is required to
develop energy conservation recommendations. Each AgEMP has a landscape
component that assesses equipment and farming processes, and a farm
headquarters component that assesses power usage and efficiencies in
poultry and livestock buildings, and similar facilities to support the
farm operation. AgEMPs must be completed by a certified Technical
Organic Initiative: Certified organic producers and those
transitioning to organic certification can receive assistance with
implementation of practices suited for organic production. Applicants
can apply for numerous conservation practices that benefit natural
resources including: cover crops, crop rotations, prescribed grazing
(grazing plans, internal fencing, and water facilities), and more.
Seasonal High Tunnel Pilot Initiative: NRCS helps producers plan
and implement high tunnels that extend growing seasons in an
environmentally safe manner. High tunnel benefits include better plant
and soil quality, fewer nutrients and pesticides in the environment, and
better air quality due to fewer vehicles being needed to transport
crops. Over the past three years in Delaware, 24 producers have signed
contracts totaling $141, 000 to install seasonal high tunnels on their
The On-Farm Energy, Organic, and Seasonal High Tunnel initiatives are
available in all 50 states, the Caribbean Area, and the Pacific Basin.
Visit the Delaware NRCS Web site at
www.de.nrcs.usda.gov for more information on how to apply for these
initiatives. Or contact the nearest 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.
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