USDA Encourages Farmers Within Chesapeake Bay Watershed to Signup for Conservation Program

Jan 14, 2010, 16:46 ET from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service's Acting State Conservationist, Dave Brown, is encouraging Pennsylvania agricultural producers located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed to apply for conservation assistance under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI).

"CBWI offers technical and financial assistance to help producers implement a system of core conservation practices to help control erosion, and to minimize excess nutrients and sediments in order to restore, preserve, and protect the Chesapeake Bay," said Brown. "Core practices include crop residue management (especially no-till and mulch till systems), crop nutrient management, manure management, cover crops, buffers, and streamside fencing to keep livestock out of streams and protect fish and wildlife habitat. In addition, a limited number of other conservation practices are available to address specific resource problems, such as barnyard runoff."

Applications for CBWI are now being accepted continuously throughout the year to be evaluated, ranked, and prioritized based on their potential to control erosion and reduce sediment and nutrient levels in local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. Applications will be collected and evaluated on a monthly basis.

Pennsylvania producers throughout the entire Bay watershed can apply. Some watersheds have been designated as targeted priority and priority watersheds because they have high yields of nitrogen and phosphorus, intense agricultural operations, and local water quality impairments due to excess nutrients or dissolved oxygen. Applications from these watersheds will receive additional points in the ranking system, with the targeted priority watershed areas receiving the most points. Qualified applications will be approved for funding as long as funds are available. Applications that cannot be funded can be retained for up to two years, after which time the producer will need to re-file a new application.

The first step for producers should be to contact their local NRCS or Conservation District office to request assistance.  Information on the location of USDA Service Centers can be found at The application and information about the new Chesapeake Bay initiative for fiscal year 2010 and a watershed map are available on the Pennsylvania NRCS Web site at

NOTE TO EDITORS: Map available upon request.

SOURCE USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service