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NRCS/EPA announce Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative

Farm Business Management Update, February - March 2009

By Jim Pease (, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

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In a joint press release on January 15, USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $23 million funding in fiscal year 2009 for the new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI). The Initiative marks a new stage in cooperation between USDA and EPA in coordination and cooperation to aid agricultural producers in cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. The program was authorized in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the Farm Bill), and funding was also authorized for $43 million, $72 million, and $50 million during the years fiscal years 2010-2012.

CBWI is available to farmers in portions of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, and New York that lie within the Chesapeake Bay drainage area (see map of tributaries). The Initiative will be administered by NRCS and delivered through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and all the EQIP requirements will be applied. Producers may not notice any changes from regular EQIP programs except that more funding will be available to address natural resource issues such as excess nutrients, soil erosion and sedimentation, air quality, wetlands protection, wildlife habitat protection and forest resources.

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