Sign Up Underway for Chesapeake Bay Funds
Annapolis, MD, March 5, 2013– The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announced today that Maryland farmers can now apply for funds to implement conservation practices under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI). First authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CBWI was recently extended until September 30, 2013, under the Taxpayer Relief Act.
“Nearly all of Maryland lies in the Bay watershed, making CBWI one of our largest conservation programs,” said Mikel Williams-Hawkins, NRCS Program Specialist. “Last year, we obligated more than $7 million to help agricultural producers improve Chesapeake Bay water quality.”
Eligible producers operating in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed can sign up for specific practices under the CBWI and receive additional consideration in the ranking process. While we accept applications throughout the year, it is important to remember that funding selections are made at specific times. For CBWI, those dates are March 15, April 19, and May 17.
Separate fund pools have been established for socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers. Applications from high priority watersheds will also receive additional consideration in the ranking process.
These funds will be used to provide technical and financial assistance to farmers to accelerate efforts to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff and improve water quality within the Bay. CBWI addresses animal waste, cropland and pastureland. NRCS will administer the initiative as part of its Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
If you are interested in Farm Bill programs, contact your local NRCS office to identify and plan the conservation measures you would like to implement on your land. The conservationist can help you develop a plan, identify recommended practices, and pursue funding through one of the many Farm Bill program options available.
USDA service center locations are listed online at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS Maryland website at www.md.nrcs.usda.gov.
For more information about NRCS conservation programs online, visit: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov, or visit your local USDA Service Center.