The Conservation Excellence Grant (CEG) Program is a new federally funded program with the purpose of providing financial and technical assistance for the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) on agricultural operations. The State Conservation Commission (SCC) administers the program with assistance from county conservation districts delegated certain responsibilities and duties. These delegated responsibilities include reviewing, ranking and approving applications for eligible projects and monitoring project completion. Financial assistance is provided to program applicants through grants, loans and tax credits, or a combination of all three. Priority will be given to applicants who propose utilizing all three methods of funding. Tax credits will be facilitated through the REAP Program administered by the SCC. A single grant awarded by the district to an eligible applicant is a 75% cost share and may not exceed $250,000.
The CEG Program funds are for proposed projects that implement planned BMPs from an Ag E&S Plan, Conservation Plan, Nutrient Management Plan or a Manure Management Plan that has been developed for an agricultural operation. Priority will be given to proposed projects that have a natural resource concern and have planning, engineering, and design work completed. Priority practices include livestock exclusion fencing, off-stream livestock watering facilities, streamside buffers, barnyard and feedlot runoff abatement, waste storage facilities, streambank restoration, cover crops, and planning BMPs (Ag E&S Plan, Conservation Plan, Nutrient Management Plan, Manure Management Plan). Other non-priority practices that are eligible for funding can be found in the REAP Program BMP list, which is located on the PA Department of Agriculture website.
CEG Program applications are available from the Cumberland County Conservation District and may be submitted at this time. There is currently no application deadline, but all applications must be approved by the Conservation District Board before any work on the project may proceed. For more information or for help completing an application, please contact Charles Heberlig III (firstname.lastname@example.org) by email or call the Conservation District at 717.240.5357.