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USDA grants could aid First State farmers

Delaware Public Media

The US Department of Agriculture has announced that it will be awarding a total of $235 million dollars in grants to fund innovative projects that promote environmental conservation.

The funds will be administered through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, as a part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Paul Petrichenko, an assistant conservationist for programs at the NRCS office in Dover, says that this will provide tremendous support for farmers in Delaware.

“The benefits for farmers is that there will be more funding and more assistance to do the kinds of things they need to do to protect the environment in Delaware,” Petrichenko said.                 

Petrichenko adds the funding will build on projects already underway to help farmers manage excessive nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, that can toxify watersheds. Ongoing efforts include planting cover crops -- crops that help filter excessive nutrients from the soil -- and building buffers to reduce surface runoff.

The deadline to submit proposals to the NRCS is July 8th and proposals will likely be selected by the end of September.