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, says Mikel Williams-Hawkins, NRCS program specialist for Maryland. "Last year, we [Maryland] obligated more than $7 million to help agricultural producers improve Chesapeake Bay water quality."
"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." With the current federal budget crisis and a new farm bill still being written, at this point, there's no guarantee beyond September 30.
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. NRCS administers the initiative as part of its Environmental Quality Incentives Program.