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Delta agrees to fund agricultural initiatives

The City of Delta will be handing out cash to several agricultural initiatives, including ongoing Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust programs.
 
Delta council agreed with a recommendation to provide $35,000 to support the trust’s winter cover crop, grassland set-aside and forage enhancement stewardship programs, as well as research and outreach, but also bumped up the recommended funding this year to $50,000.
 
Council will discuss future grants at a business plan workshop.
 
The trust earlier this year requested $200,000 in funding from the city in increments of $50,000 over four years.
 
The organization had been getting funding from several sources, including an annual $15,000 grant from the city’s Delta Wildlife Forage Fund. That fund ran out of cash last year but the city continued to provide funding, but the trust is now asking for additional money.
 
In a letter to council, program manager Drew Bondar noted that to ensure the stewardship programs remain viable, it’s important that cost-share rates with farmers are at a level sufficient to promote enrollment. Last year, the trust increased its rate for grassland set-asides, noting interest in the last couple of years had been waning as it became apparent the cost share was no longer sufficient to justify participation.
 
The increase is estimated to cost an additional $50,000 to $60,000 annually.
 
It was noted at council the rate given to farmers hasn’t changed since the mid-1990s.
 
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