With consumers expressing more interest in sustainability and responsibly produced foods, ADA North East is helping dairy farmers build trust in their farming practices and commitment to stewardship. Click below to find information about available technical and financial resources to help dairy farmers meet their conservation project goals.

If you are aware of other resources that should be posted to this page, please email Ron Ohrel (rohrel@milk4u.org).

Over $1M Available for Cover Crops in Sussex County

About:
Farmers across Sussex County can now apply for over $1.1 million in funding from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to plant cover crops, over the next three years.
Funding is provided by two USDA NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects focused on improving water quality through soil health. 

The Chesapeake Bay watershed project is a multi-state project led by Sustainable Chesapeake, a non-profit organization founded in 2012 that works to deliver conservation outcomes that benefit both farmers and the Chesapeake Bay. The Delaware Bay and Inland Bays watershed project is led by the Sussex Conservation District (SCD); local partners include the Delaware Department of Agriculture – Nutrient Management Program, Perdue Farms Inc., Amick Farms, Allen Harim Foods LLC. and Mountaire Farms.

Location(s):
Sussex County

Application Deadline:
RCPP applications are accepted year-round; however, the first application deadline is Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. All applications received by the deadline will be ranked and considered for funding in Spring 2021.

For More Information:
For more information on eligibility or to complete an application, call the Sussex County USDA Service Center at 302-856-3990, ext. 3.


Assistance Available to Address Resource Concerns on Agricultural Lands

About:
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging Delaware’s agricultural producers 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. 

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. 

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 fiscal year, Delaware approved a combined 150 EQIP and AMA contracts covering 19,600 acres for a total of $7.1 million.

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. 

Location(s):
Statewide

Application Deadline:
NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off deadlines. Delaware producers with applications in before December 4, 2020 will have a higher chance of application approval as funding is limited. Additional application cutoff dates are scheduled for the first Friday of each month until May 7, 2021.

For More Information:
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


Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants

About:
The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as:

  • Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels).
  • Geothermal for electric generation or direct use.
  • Hydropower below 30 megawatts.
  • Hydrogen.
  • Small and large wind generation.
  • Small and large solar generation.
  • Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation.

Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:

  • High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
  • Insulation.
  • Lighting.
  • Cooling or refrigeration units.
  • Doors and windows.
  • Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots.
  • Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor.
  • Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Location(s):
Statewide with restrictions as follows:

  • Businesses must be in an area OTHER THAN a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.  
  • Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Application Deadline:
Applications for Grants are due by March 31, 2021.
Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

For More Information:
https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/de

Maryland’s Conservation Buffer Initiative

About:
This pilot program provides a new funding option for farmers who want to plant streamside buffers on their farms to improve the health of local streams and the Chesapeake Bay.  

Maryland's Conservation Buffer Initiative offers many features that farmers have asked. These include attractive incentive payments, a buffer option for field ditches, more flexible site management, and shorter contract terms.

Three types of buffers are eligible for funding and free technical assistance under this pilot: forest buffers planted next to waterways, grass buffers planted next to waterways or field ditches, and watercourse access control areas adjacent to pastures. Here's how the program works:

  • Farmers receive a one-time payment for enrolled land with 75% paid when the contract is executed and 25% paid when the project is completed. 
  • Payment rates range from $500/acre for an existing grass buffer to a maximum of $3,500/acre to install a riparian forest buffer with fencing.
  • Mowing and hay harvesting are allowed; nutrient applications are not.
  • Contracts are for 5 or 10 years.
  • Soil conservation districts provide free technical assistance to get your buffer installed.
  • All work must be completed by June 30, 2022 

Location(s):
Statewide

Application Deadline:
Apply online or by mail between January 11, 2021 and February 5, 2021.

For More Information:
https://mda.maryland.gov/resource_conservation/Pages/conservation-buffer-initiative.aspx


Wetland Opportunities on Ag Land

About:
In partnership with Washington College's Center for Environment & Society and funded by the Department of Natural Resources, ShoreRivers is looking to survey, design, and manage the construction of 20 total acres of wetlands on the Eastern Shore. Specifically, the partners want to establish multiple shallow water wetlands in agricultural fields that will provide the most cost-effective reductions of nutrients and sediments, our most prevalent and pervasive pollutants. 

Wetlands provide many societal benefits: food and habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species; water quality improvement; flood storage; shoreline erosion control; economically beneficial natural products for human use; and opportunities for recreation, education, and research. 

Location(s):
Miles, Wye, and Eastern Bay watersheds (upper Eastern Shore).

Application Deadline:
Unknown

For More Information:
Contact Elle Bassett, ShoreRivers: ebassett@shorerivers.org


2021 Animal Waste Technology Grants

About:
The Maryland Department of Agriculture is accepting FY 2021 grant proposals for the department’s Animal Waste Technology Fund. Vendors, businesses, and individuals offering technologies that can demonstrate innovative, economically-feasible animal waste projects should apply.

Maryland’s Animal Waste Technology Fund has $3.35 million to invest in innovative technologies during FY 2021, which ends June 30, 2021. There are no maximum or minimum request amounts. Animal waste technology projects that are cost-effective, proven, innovative, and adaptable to Maryland will be considered. Projects or products that demonstrate technologies that are already commercialized are also eligible.

New this year, innovative technology proposals that treat animal waste streams, in addition to animal manure, will be accepted. Examples include dairy wastewater, poultry processing waste, and livestock mortality among others.

Location(s):
Statewide 

Application Deadline:
December 31, 2020

For More Information:
Visit the Animal Waste Technology Grants’ website or contact Alisha Mulkey at 410-841-5863 or alisha.mulkey@maryland.gov


Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants

About:
The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as:

  • Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels).
  • Geothermal for electric generation or direct use.
  • Hydropower below 30 megawatts.
  • Hydrogen.
  • Small and large wind generation.
  • Small and large solar generation.
  • Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation.

Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:

  • High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
  • Insulation.
  • Lighting.
  • Cooling or refrigeration units.
  • Doors and windows.
  • Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots.
  • Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor.
  • Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Location(s):
Statewide with restrictions as follows:

  • Businesses must be in an area OTHER THAN a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.  
  • Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Application Deadline:
Applications for Grants are due by March 31, 2021.
Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

For More Information:
https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/md 


Farming for Healthy Soil

About:
The Maryland Department of Agriculture received a three year, $1 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Stewardship Fund to promote healthy soil practices to farmers. The grant will provide participating farmers with technical assistance, as well as financial assistance ranging from $10 to $55 per acre, per year to install key soil health practices. We will be seeking an implementation commitment for 3 years, with rates paid annually after implementation. The program begins Fall 2020.

Funding is available for the adoption of new practices only—not continuation of current practices. New implementation means the conservation practice is either entirely new to the site or you are changing implementation in some way to be different from previous years (e.g., adding a new species to your cover crop mix, further reducing tillage intensity, etc.).

Depending on your location, we have a partner network with Soil Conservation Districts and UM Extension to offer free technical assistance during the grant.

Additionally, soil samples will be collected in year 1 and year 3 in both fields for soil health metrics, with some funding support available for the samples. 

No minimum acreage requirement.

Participants will need to be in compliance with all MDA programs (nutrient management regulations, MACS, etc.) 

We are seeking farmers to enroll study fields in any of the following:

  • Conservation tillage
  • Multi-species cover crops
  • Extended season cover crops
  • Prescribed grazing
  • Precision nutrient management

Location(s):
Statewide

Application Deadline:
Unknown

For More Information:
The application form can be found at go.umd.edu/soilhealthgrant or by calling Kelly Nichols at 301-600-3577. The application form should be submitted to Kevin Antoszewski, MDA Healthy Soils Program Coordinator, at kevin.antoszewski@maryland.gov.

For questions, contact Kevin (email is preferred, but a voicemail can be left at 410-841-5866) or Kelly Nichols, University of Maryland Extension Ag Agent, at 301-600-3577 or kellyn@umd.edu.


Cost-Share Grants for Conservation Drainage Practices

About:
Cost-share grants are now available from the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program to help farmers cover the cost of installing conservation drainage practices on farms to reduce nutrient runoff and protect water quality downstream. Grants cover up to 87.5 percent of the cost to install a practice. In many instances, MACS grants can be combined with federal cost-share programs to make installation of these practices very affordable.

Location(s):
Statewide

Application Deadline:
Unknown

For More Information:
https://mda.maryland.gov/resource_conservation/counties/ConservationDrainage_FINAL.pdf


Choptank Riverkeeper Landowner Payments for Water Quality Projects

About:
Funding is available to install buffers, wetlands, and bioreactors on farm fields in the Choptank Watershed. $90 - $1,300/acre is available for buffers with flexible mowing restrictions and planting widths, $2,000/acre for tree buffers, $3,000/acre for wetlands, and a $500/acre bonus for properties in high-priority areas.

Location(s):
Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, or Queen Anne’s county

Application Deadline:
Unknown

For More Information:
https://www.shorerivers.org/envision-the-choptank?bbeml=tp-kOWsm98N7UKmEdsOkRhhXQ.jv9L-UeX1HkOvv6xWRYHBWw.rdKyR6LI2zkGGLGhiSyQCig.lUmeO9qQ2zEK7w2Cx57AnAQ

Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants

About:
The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as:

  • Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels).
  • Geothermal for electric generation or direct use.
  • Hydropower below 30 megawatts.
  • Hydrogen.
  • Small and large wind generation.
  • Small and large solar generation.
  • Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation.

Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:

  • High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
  • Insulation.
  • Lighting.
  • Cooling or refrigeration units.
  • Doors and windows.
  • Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots.
  • Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor.
  • Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Location(s):
Statewide with restrictions as follows:

  • Businesses must be in an area OTHER THAN a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.  
  • Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Application Deadline:
Applications for Grants are due by March 31, 2021.
Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

For More Information:
https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/nj

Onondaga Lake Restoration Project Funding Available

About:
In March 2018, the State of New York, acting through NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the United States Department of the Interior, acting through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), together the Trustees, settled a natural resource damage claim with the Responsible Parties, Honeywell International Inc. and Onondaga County, for the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site in Onondaga County, New York. 

The “March 2018 Onondaga Lake Natural Resource Damage Consent Decree” outlines specific restoration projects currently underway and includes additional funding for Trustee sponsored natural resource restoration projects. Specifically, this funding “shall be applied toward the costs of restoration, rehabilitation, or replacement of injured natural resources, and/or acquisition of equivalent resources, including, but not limited to, any administrative, legal, oversight and maintenance costs, and expenses necessary for, and incidental to, restoration, rehabilitation, replacement and/or acquisition of equivalent resources.” 

Location(s):
Onondaga Lake watershed

Application Deadline:
See below for details

For More Information:
There is a two-step process to submit a funding proposal for natural resource restoration projects consistent with the 2017 Onondaga Lake Natural Resource Damage Assessment Restoration (NRDAR) Plan and Environmental Assessment and the 2018 Onondaga Lake Natural Resource Damage Consent Decree

Step 1 
Submit a completed Onondaga Lake NRDAR Project Concept Proposal to: Amy Roe at amy_roe@fws.gov and Jared Reed at jared.reed@dec.ny.gov  Concept Proposals are accepted throughout the year. The Trustees will endeavor to make Concept Proposal decisions within 30 days from receipt of Concept Proposals. 

Step 2 
Applicants that receive Trustee approval of Onondaga Lake NRDAR Concept Proposals are eligible to submit a full Onondaga Lake NRDAR Proposal by the biannual deadlines of March 1 and September 1 of each Calendar Year: to Amy Roe at amy_roe@fws.gov and Jared Reed at jared.reed@dec.ny.gov. Funding decisions will be made by April 30 and October 31 of each Calendar Year. 


Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants

About:
The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as:
•    Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels).
•    Geothermal for electric generation or direct use.
•    Hydropower below 30 megawatts.
•    Hydrogen.
•    Small and large wind generation.
•    Small and large solar generation.
•    Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation.

Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:
•    High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
•    Insulation.
•    Lighting.
•    Cooling or refrigeration units.
•    Doors and windows.
•    Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots.
•    Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor.
•    Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Location(s):
Statewide with restrictions as follows:
•    Businesses must be in an area OTHER THAN a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.  
•    Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Application Deadline:
Applications for Grants are due by March 31, 2021.
Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

For More Information:
https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/ny


Source Water Buffer Program 

About:
The goal of the Source Water Buffer Program is to protect active sources of public drinking water and to support, expand, or enhance water quality protection through the purchase of conservation easements on agricultural lands. Such projects shall preserve or establish buffers for surface or ground waters which serve as, or are tributaries to, public drinking water supplies.

Funding for this opportunity is provided through the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 with approximately $5 million available for the purchase of conservation easements on agricultural lands that support, expand, or enhance water quality protection of active public drinking water sources. These are including but not limited to aquifers, watersheds, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and streams. Program funds will also be available for the implementation of Riparian Buffer Systems within the conservation easement area that will provide further water quality protection. 

Location(s):
Eligible agricultural lands must be:

  • Directly adjacent to surface waters designated as a drinking water source;
  • Directly adjacent to tributaries that drain to designated drinking water source;
  • Wetland areas directly adjacent to surface waters designated as a drinking water source;
  • Within a wellhead protection area designated by the NYS Department of Health; or
  • Within the contributing area directly adjacent to an aquifer sinkhole.

Application Deadline:
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For More Information:
If you are interested in learning more or participating in the Source Water Buffer Program, contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District.


Conservation Projects in Chester County

About:
Chester County Conservation District has been awarded a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) grant for best management practice implementation on farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed portion of Chester County. 

Funding will be available for NRCS approved BMPs, including:

  • Field practices—waterways, terraces, diversions, etc.
  • Barnyard practices—manure storages, barnyard improvements, stormwater control, etc.
  • Stream practices—riparian buffers, stream crossings, fencing, etc.

The Conservation District will guide each applicant through the process and will perform checks after the project is completed to ensure that each practice continues to work for you.

Location(s):
Chesapeake Bay watershed portion of Chester County

Application Deadline:
Unknown

For More Information:
Visit https://www.chesco.org/4075/Chesapeake-Bay-RCPP or contact:

Dan Miloser
Agricultural Team Leader
Chester County Conservation District
610-925-4920 x115
dmiloser@chesco.org


Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants

About:
The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as:
•    Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels).
•    Geothermal for electric generation or direct use.
•    Hydropower below 30 megawatts.
•    Hydrogen.
•    Small and large wind generation.
•    Small and large solar generation.
•    Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation.

Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:
•    High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
•    Insulation.
•    Lighting.
•    Cooling or refrigeration units.
•    Doors and windows.
•    Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots.
•    Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor.
•    Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Location(s):
Statewide with restrictions as follows:
•    Businesses must be in an area OTHER THAN a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.  
•    Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Application Deadline:
Applications for Grants are due by March 31, 2021.
Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

For More Information:
https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/pa
 


Small Business Advantage Grant

About:
The Small Business Advantage Grant provides 50% matching grants, up to a maximum of $7,000 to enable Pennsylvania small businesses to purchase energy efficient or pollution prevention equipment, or adopt waste reduction processes.
To be eligible, the applicant must be a Pennsylvania-based, registered, for-profit small business with 100 or fewer FTE employees, and install energy efficiency and pollution prevention projects saving the small business a minimum of $500.00 and at least 25% annually in energy consumption or pollution related expenses. Natural resource protection projects must quantify the reduction of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loadings reaching the receiving waterway.

Location(s):
Statewide

Application Deadline:
Applications are accepted beginning July 24, 2020. The program is first-come, first served.

For More Information:
https://www.dep.pa.gov/Citizens/GrantsLoansRebates/SmallBusinessOmbudsmanOffice/Pages/Small%20Business%20Advantage%20Grant.aspx


Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program

About:
Farmers, landowners, and businesses earn tax credits for implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will enhance farm production and protect natural resources.

REAP is a first-come, first-served program—no rankings. The program is administered by the State Conservation Commission and the tax credits are awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

Eligible applicants receive between 50% and 75% of project cost in the form of state tax credits for up to $250,000 per operation in a 7-year timeframe.

Tax credits can be used incrementally (as needed) for up to 15 years to pay PA state income tax. Farmers and landowners can elect to sell the tax credits after one year.

Farmers can work with a sponsor that will help finance the BMP project. The sponsor reimburses the farmer/landowner for the project installation costs and the sponsor receives the tax credits.

Applicants can apply for proposed projects and/or completed projects.

Location(s):
Statewide

Application Deadline:
The State Conservation Commission will begin accepting 2020-21 REAP applications on August 3, 2020. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

For More Information:
https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/StateConservationCommission/REAP/Pages/default.aspx


Conservation Excellence Grant Program

About:
Financial and technical assistance for the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) on agricultural operations in high-priority locations within the Commonwealth through grants, loans and tax credits, or a combination of all three.

Location(s):
Priority locations as follows and in this order:

  1. Tier 1 (Lancaster and York)
  2. Tier 2 (Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, Franklin and Lebanon) and Tier 3 (Adams, Bradford, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Susquehanna and Tioga)
  3. All other counties

Application Deadline:
Applications will be accepted beginning July 1, and evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis, according to their potential to meet program criteria.

For More Information:
https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/StateConservationCommission/Conservation_Excellence_Grant_Program/Pages/default.aspx


Agricultural Plan Reimbursement Program

About:
The program provides cost share to farmers for their Nutrient and Manure Management and Agricultural Erosion and Sediment Control Plans. These plans include site-specific best management practices that increase farm sustainability and improve local water quality. Pennsylvania state regulations require the development and implementation of these plans, and compliance with the regulations is a key component to meeting our collective Chesapeake Bay Watershed goals.

Location(s):
Counties within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair Bradford, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Elk, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Tioga, Wayne, Wyoming, and York.

Application Deadline:
April 1, 2021

For More Information:
https://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Water/Pennsylvania%E2%80%99s%20Chesapeake%20Bay%20Program%20Office/agriculture/Pages/Funding-Programs.aspx


DCNR Buffer My Stream Program

About:
The Buffer My Stream program encourages 10,000 landowners with streams on their property to improve water quality and lessen erosion by planting native trees and shrubs along the water’s edge. Streamside tree and shrub plantings filter the runoff of pollutants from the land; control erosion; slow down runoff during heavy rains; provide privacy and shade; cool stream temperatures; and improve fish and pollinator habitat.

DCNR is committing $1.5 million to streamside buffer plantings this year. The department is leading the effort involving many partners from all levels of government and many non-profits who also plant and fund streamside buffers.

The effort is supported by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Location(s):
Adams, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lancaster and York counties

Application Deadline:
Unknown

For More Information:
Visit the Buffer My Stream website: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Conservation/Water/RiparianBuffers/BufferMyStream/Pages/default.aspx. Landowners are encouraged to contact DCNR for free assistance with buffer design and funding by calling 717-705-2820 or through DCNR’s online contact form: https://expressforms.pa.gov/apps/pa/dcnr/buffer-my-stream.

Virginia Farmers Can Now Sign Up for Three Core Conservation Programs

About:
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting FY2021 applications for three updated Farm Bill programs incorporating numerous changes that can benefit Virginia farmers.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): This highly popular program now includes increased payment rates for adopting cover crop rotations and incentive payments to better support locally led conservation. Fund pools are available for livestock, cropland and forestry with 12 special initiatives.

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP): This program allows agricultural producers and forest landowners to earn payments for actively managing and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, enhanced nutrient management and pollinator habitat while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. New incentives like supplemental funding for advanced grazing management and a one-time payment for developing a comprehensive conservation plan offer added benefits. Existing CSP participants may also have an opportunity to renew their contracts in the first half of the fifth year of their five-year contract.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP): While the final rule hasn’t yet been released, interim guidance outlines new easement program policies that will appeal to landowners and organizations such as land trusts and purchase of development rights (PDR) programs. The Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component no longer requires a minimum cash match, allowing landowner donations, acquisition expenses and stewardship costs to satisfy the requirement. The new program agreement structure will also increase administrative efficiency.

Location(s):
Statewide

Application Deadline:
EQIP applications will be accepted until Dec. 18, 2020. ACEP and CSP guidance is still pending, so we are unable to provide an application deadline at this time. All applicants must have farm records established with USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA). Advance payment options are available for historically underserved producers.

Applications are available at your local USDA Service Center and online at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Learn more about Virginia Farm Bill programs at www.va.nrcs.usda.gov/.

View the full press release for more details, including a complete list of special EQIP incentive


Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants

About:
The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as:
•    Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels).
•    Geothermal for electric generation or direct use.
•    Hydropower below 30 megawatts.
•    Hydrogen.
•    Small and large wind generation.
•    Small and large solar generation.
•    Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation.

Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:
•    High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
•    Insulation.
•    Lighting.
•    Cooling or refrigeration units.
•    Doors and windows.
•    Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots.
•    Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor.
•    Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Location(s):
Statewide with restrictions as follows:
•    Businesses must be in an area OTHER THAN a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.  
•    Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Application Deadline:
Applications for Grants are due by March 31, 2021.
Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

For More Information:
https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/va