A common obstacle to improvement of agricultural operations for protecting drinking water source quality is funding. Farmers often are not willing to implement non-required BMPs that adversely affect their ability to cover expenses and make a profit. Many successful case studies have shown some type of cost-sharing to be effective. Of course, farmer cooperation is best when funding sources are available to pay for 100 percent of the costs of BMP construction and implementation. Proactive water utilities can work with farmers and other stakeholders to find funding for a variety of agricultural source water protection projects. Knowledge of these potential funding sources, as well as good relationships with stakeholder organizations that are experienced as gaining related funding, can greatly help a water utility to gain cooperation of the farms in their source water area.
- The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has cost-share incentive programs available for farmers to implement BMPs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) , the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program , and others. Information sheets describing these NRCS programs and funding available to CAFO owners and operators are available from the NRCS and LPES . These funds can be used for development of Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans and implementation of BMPs.
- USDA also has webpages with links for federal funding opportunities for rural areas and for small farms. In addition, funds for pollution prevention measures may be available from the USDA Conservation Reserve Program and other related programs.
- Financial Assistance Summaries for AFOs - USEPA has summarized the federal financial (grants and loans) and technical assistance programs that are available for AFOs and CAFOs to address environmental concerns (USEPA, 2005c).
- USEPA supports websites with descriptions of Financial Assistance Tools and other Funding for Source Water Protection Activities - a May 2003 USEPA report on federal funding sources for source water protection activities
- Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection - USEPA maintains this on-line searchable database of financial assistance sources (grants, loans, cost-sharing) available to fund a variety of watershed protection projects. This allows searches by the type of organization seeking funding (e.g., water utilities, business, private landowner, state or federal agency, community/watershed organizations, non-profit groups, etc.), the type of assistance sought (grants or loans), and select key words (e.g., agriculture, best management practices, drinking water).