Cultivating Conservation for Maryland and Delaware's Small and Historically Underserved Farmers


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” will target historically underserved groups to increase their knowledge of Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) programs, understanding of application processes, and how conservation projects can fit into an overall farm plan.


  • The University of Maryland Extension and Agriculture Law Education Initiative team, in cooperation with University of Delaware Extension, Maryland and Delaware NRCS, and Soil Conservation District field offices, will deliver education and outreach through classroom and hands-on experiences - Beginning Farmer and Women in Agriculture will be the targeted audiences as they are both “Historically Underserved” populations
  • Educational curriculum and programs such as workshops and service center field trips will be conducted to increase the knowledge and comfort level of participants interested in conservation projects 
  • Knowledge gained will improve environmental and economic performance of working agricultural lands, increase soil health, and build capacity of local partners to develop and implement effective projects 
  • Education efforts will focus on improving understanding of contractual agreements, program expectations and incorporating conservation into an overall farm production plan 
  • This project will operate August 2020 to July 2022 


  1. Increase knowledge of federal conservation programs including soil health resources, conservation programs, and eligibility by conducting workshops
  2. Reduce apprehension and increase comfort level of navigating and selecting federal conservation programs by conducting field trips to service centers
  3. Increase understanding of contractual obligations and eligibility for federal conservation programs
  4. Create a whole farm plan that includes production and conservation practices

Dr. Sarah Hirsh describes details for Maryland and Delaware's new education program to promote conservation practices.

For More Information Contact:

Dr. Sarah Hirsh, Extension Educator, University of Maryland Extension