Agricultural and Forest Landowners

Meeting the Funding Challenge.

Farm conservation practices are smart investments. They are not only good for water quality, they are good for your farm’s bottom line. 

Still, you may have yet to develop a conservation plan or implement improvements to your landscape. Perhaps the universe of public funding programs is too confusing. Maybe you’re interested in learning about financing tools that offer greater flexibility, new tax benefits, or opportunities to start small with just a few improvements.

We can help you move to the next level.

Pennsylvania’s Center for Water Quality Excellence (CWQE) exists to help farm landowners make sense of the grant, loan, and public-private partnership programs that support agricultural conservation best practices and clean water in Pennsylvania.

The CWQE offers staff to assist agricultural landowners and tenant farmers evaluate what conservation practices are possible and practical. We can support you in evaluating relevant solutions and strategies for financial and technical assistance to get conservation practices implemented on your property. A PENNVEST initiative, the CWQE operates as a pilot in York and Lancaster counties that is no cost to customers seeking assistance.

Landowners requesting help receive support from specialists or “coaches,” who provide one-one-one guidance on implementation and funding strategies. We shine light on what has worked well for other farms like yours. Making customer service a priority, the Center will offer in-person and phone support to best suit your schedule.

An important goal of the Center is to promote existing programs and partnerships. CWQE staff will make connections for you to relevant organizations who provide technical expertise and administer funding for Best Management Practices (BMPs)  at the local level.

There are a growing number of assistance programs for farm BMPs. Now is the time to take advantage of programs and initiatives that fit your needs. Think of us as your resource coach and reach out to the CWQE when you want information on funding programs, see a need for a BMP tune-up or just simply have a question that needs an answer.

Visit the CWQE Support Hub or call CWQE at 855-227-1202 for more information.

CWQE will operate through December 31, 2023. To ensure that we can provide adequate guidance for your project, we will be accepting new assistance requests through October 31, 2023.

Manure management is integral to a comprehensive farm management plan.
With funding provided by PENNVEST, stormwater and manure management improvements were made to the Amos Stoltzfus farm in West Cocalico Township, Lancaster County. The project will reduce sediment and nutrients from flowing into Indian Run stream which is currently impaired due to agriculture and is a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay.


Farm Conservation

A Wise Investment

Farm conservation practices — those that save and improve soil and manage fertilizer and animal waste — are good for water quality and good for farm businesses.

Pennsylvania farmers manage nearly a full quarter of the state’s 29 million acres of land. Clearly, providing funding to help improve farm practices is a wise public investment toward clean water.

Funding and technical assistance can make a difference in your farm’s future. 


Bang-for-the-Buck Conservation Practices

Some conservation practices are big winners in terms of cleaning up local waterways, and they often score higher under funders’ ranking criteria for financial assistance.

Top practices include:

  • streamside buffers and fencing
  • cover crops
  • minimum tillage/no-till
  • improvements to barn yards and other heavy animal use areas
  • manure storage

Use CWQE as your coach to organize funding strategies, find partnerships, and build proposals around program criteria to boost your chances at receiving financial assistance.