Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program
The Agricultural Management Assistance Program (AMA) helps agricultural producers use conservation to manage risk and address natural resource issues through natural resources conservation. NRCS administers the AMA conservation provisions, while the Agricultural Marketing Service and the Risk Management Agency implement other provisions under AMA.
- Eligible land includes agricultural land, non-industrial private forest land or other land on which agricultural products, livestock, or forest-related products are produced and where risk may be mitigated by diversifying the operation or adding conservation practices that support soil erosion control, integrated pest management and organic farming.
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
The program encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on agricultural land and non-industrial private forest land where resource concerns related to agricultural production can be addressed. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, improved pastureland, pastured cropland, or non-industrial private forest land, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.
Through CSP, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land such as:
- Improved pasture
- Non-industrial private forest lands
- Other private agricultural land (including cropped woodland, marshes, and agricultural land used for the production of livestock) on which resource concerns related to agricultural production could be addressed.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
USDA offers the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a voluntary conservation program that helps farmers and owners of agricultural land, including forest landowners, reduce pollution and improve natural resources. EQIP provides technical and financial assistance to help people plan, install and implement structural, vegetative and management conservation practices on agricultural land and forest land.
- Eligibility is limited to persons who are engaged in livestock or agricultural production. Eligible land includes cropland, hay land, and pasture land.
- Requests are processed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
- All EQIP activities must be carried out according to a conservation plan. Conservation plans are site specific for each farm and can be developed by farmers with help from NRCS and the Talbot SCD.
- EQIP offers 5-10 year contracts that provide incentive payments and cost-share for conservation practices as identified in the EQIP proposal. NRCS conducts an evaluation of the environment benefit that the farmer offers. Offers are then ranked according to previously approved criteria developed.
- Cost-share may pay up to 75% of the cost of certain conservation practices. Total cost-share and incentive payments are limited to $10,000 per person/year and $50,000 for the length of the contract.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
USDA offers the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which puts sensitive cropland under permanent vegetative cover for 10-15 years. CRP contract holders receive annual rental payments.
- CRP and CREP Programs are administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Requests by landowners or cash rent tenants are made to:
- FSA Office, 28577 Mary’s Court, Suite 2, Easton, Maryland, 21601.
- Working with the above office is the FSA County Committee which consists of three county farmers who meet monthly to review and approve or disapprove requests and allocate money for those requests according to conservation need priorities.
- Technical work for the program - farm visits to discuss jobs with the landowner, detail planning, elevation surveys, job layout, and construction checks are done by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Talbot Soil Conservation District (TSCD), located at 28577 Mary’s Court, Suite 3, Easton, Maryland, 21601, (410) 822-1583 x 3. All conservation practices must be approved and installed to meet NRCS Standards & Specifications.
- Sign-up for this program is during an announced sign-up, usually annually.
- Rental rates are based on soil type at the site offered.
- This program is to establish permanent vegetation of warm season grasses, cool season grasses and trees (for wildlife benefits, & erosion control) and to remove the acreage from production agriculture.