DCA's Delaware Buffers Cost-Share Program

DCA has been awarded a $192,000 grant from the state of Delaware to operate a cost-share program funding installation of two kinds of vegetative environmental buffers on Delaware broiler farms: hedgerows of warm-season grasses near tunnel fans and sidewall fans, and pollinator-friendly plantings. DCA is providing a $262,235 match over the three-year course of the grant. A cost-share program is now available to eligible DCA members that covers 90 percent of the costs of technical assistance, installation, and reporting for these types of buffers. The grower's cost to take advantage of the cost-share program will be the remaining 10 percent.

Because of Delaware's and the EPA's water-quality priorities, eligibility for the cost-share programs is limited to farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Delaware Inland Bays, and certain areas of the St. Jones River (Delaware Bay) watershed. To qualify, an applicant must be in good standing as a DCA member, at the $150 level or higher, prior to DCA staff providing on-farm technical assistance for these best management practices (BMPs).

To apply, growers will fill out this application form. DCA staff will complete a planting design showing BMP location and estimated plant quantities and materials, and we will also assist the applicants in locating contractors to provide estimates on BMP installation.

Download Application

Growers must submit invoices to DCA staff for installed BMPs on a timely manner to initiate the final inspection on completion as well as to start the payment process. Growers will be obligated to maintain the installed BMPs for their intended purpose of treating a documented resource concern for a period of 10 years. If the installed BMPs are destroyed in any manner, they will be reinstalled at the owner's expense. DCA staff will perform annual and semi-annual inspections to verify the conditions of the BMPs during the first five years.

Repayment of cost-share funds to DCA will be required if any of the following occur:
  • Farm was sold within the 10-year period and the new owner will not use the houses for poultry production
  • The new owner will not agree in writing to maintain the installed BMPs for the remainder of the 10-year period
  • The BMPs are destroyed in some manner by the current owner or farm help and not re-established properly, within a specified timeframe

The cost-share program began in 2022 and is now open for applicants. If you have questions about the cost-share program, contact us at dca@dcachicken.com.

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The Delmarva Chicken Association (DCA) Vegetative Environmental Buffers Program was created to help with air quality improvements on chicken farms in Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. DCA assumed responsibility for the program in 2006 after its creation by the University of Delaware.
The planting of trees around chicken houses has both air quality and water quality benefits. Properly designed vegetative environmental buffers with farm-specific plants -- trees, shrubs and warm season grasses -- help capture air emissions from chicken houses. Additionally, these vegetative environmental buffers can absorb nutrients in the soil and water around chicken houses and help prevent the movement of nutrients to adjacent waters.
Vegetative environmental buffers also let growers reduce the time and expense of mowing grass. And DCA is also pioneering the adaption of pollinator-friendly vegetative environmental buffers, which promote crop pollination on top of their other advantages. In 2017, DCA was awarded a grant from Bayer's Feed A Bee program to help growers on Delmarva plant pollinator-friendly vegetative environmental buffers. Beginning in 2019, we've collaborated with the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance to research which pollinator-friendly plant species work best for growers, and converted high-maintenance mowed areas to low-maintenance pollinator-plot meadows all across Delmarva. This guide helps growers add pollinator-friendly buffers to their farms and transition lawns to meadows, including in swales between chicken houses.
Since 2006, the DCA Vegetative Environmental Buffers Coordinator has worked with hundreds of growers and overseen the designs of vegetative environmental buffers, helped growers navigate the systems of cost-share programs, and identified contractors to help with the plantings.
Delmarva chicken growers can contact us at dca@dcachicken.com or 302-856-9037 to learn more about our VEB program.

Useful Documents

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