; Cultivating Conservation in MD and DE | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Cultivating Conservation in MD and DE

Shannon Dill, Sarah Hirsh, Ben Beale, Alan Leslie, Kelly Nichols, Neith Little, Andrew Kness, and Erika Crowl


Federal programs can be complex to navigate, especially for beginning farmers or individuals who have not established a relationship with the sponsoring agency. “Cultivating Conservation for Maryland and Delaware’s Small and Historically Underserved Farmers” targets historically underserved groups to increase their knowledge of Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) programs, understand the application processes, and how conservation projects can fit into an overall farm plan. Educational curriculum and programs such as workshops and service center field trips were conducted to increase the knowledge and comfort level of participants interested in conservation projects.

A series of five classes were held in 2022 reaching 74 individuals in MD and DE. End of class results include 74% received resources materials they could use, 53% received answers to questions, 21% received ideas they could try immediately and 21% received names of people to contact. Participants were also asked to rate their knowledge before and after the session. Total change in knowledge was 30% with statistical difference (p<0.001). The greatest increase was understanding contractual obligation and expectations (37%) and conservation programs and resources available (32%). All participants report that some action will be taken following the workshop. Those somewhat or very likely will review literature about various programs available (100%), visit a service center or participate in tours (95%), contact their county NRCS office (95%), review the web soil survey for their property (94%), create a conservation farm plan (84%) and implement a conservation practice (83%).

Presentation Materials