Agricultural Cost Share Program

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ACSP LogoStaff Contact:

Emily Bateman
Phone: 919-560-0558

What is the Ag Cost Share Program?

The Agriculture Cost-Share Assistance Program (ACSP) is a voluntary program for farmers and agricultural landowners to help address natural resource concerns on the land and nonpoint source pollution from agricultural activities. The program provides technical and financial assistance for the installation of best management practices. ACSP is administered by the NC Division of Soil and Water Conservation and local Soil and Water Districts.

Cropland ConversionA major cause of water quality problems in North Carolina and much of the United States is nonpoint source pollution. Nonpoint source pollution comes from many different sources such as construction, cities and towns, impervious surfaces and agriculture. In agricultural areas, damage to our water resources come from soil erosion, excess nutrients, animal waste contamination and accidental spills of agricultural chemicals.

The ACSP uses more than 60 approved best management practices to address agricultural nonpoint source pollution that fall into the following 5 areas:

  1. Sediment/Nutrient losses - BMPs that reduce run-off from cropland and keep sediment and nutrients out of state waterways
  2. Animal Waste Management - to biologically treat, stabilize and provide environmentally safe storage of organic waste material
  3. Agrichemical Pollution Prevention - to provide an environmentally safe means for mixing and storing of agrichemicals
  4. Stream Protection - decreases the amount of sediment and nutrients from entering waterways due to livestock with access to streams and ponds
  5. Erosion/Nutrient Reduction - BMPs that minimize farm field erosion and help reduce nutrient application to the field
Cost Share ProgramThe NC ACSP is successful in improving and protecting the state's resources through the grassroots efforts of local soil and water conservation districts. The Durham SWCD works with landowners and renters to:
  1. Identify best management practices (BMPs) suited to your operations 
  2. Develop and approve individual conservation plans 
  3. Design and oversee the installation of BMPs
  4. Provide technical assistance to ensure proper operation and maintenance

CowWho is Eligible?

If you are a landowner or renter of an existing agricultural operation that has been operating for more than three years, you may be eligible to participate in the North Carolina Agriculture Cost Share Program.

**Due to recent NC legislation, interested applicants will be asked to provide a copy of one of the following to prove eligibility:
 - Farm owner or operator’s federal tax Schedule F (form 1040) or an equivalent form for the most recent tax year showing the owner or operator’s profit or loss from farming.
 - Farm sales tax exemption certificate issued to the farm owner or operator by the US Department of Revenue.
 - Forest management plan for forestland actively engaged in the commercial growing of trees as defined in G.S. 105-277.2(6). This applies only to BMPs contracted on land covered in the forestry management plan.

If the applicant cannot provide any of the items above but has a conservation plan that meets the statutory purposes of the program(s), the board may request an exemption from the Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

How does the program Work?

Potential candidates will submit an application to the Durham SWCD for review by the Board of Supervisors. The applications are ranked based on resource concerns identified in the county. If your application is approved by the Board, a BMP design to address your resource issues will be designed, average cost share reimbursement will be calculated and a final contract between the District, the state and you will be submitted for approval.

How the program WorksUpon final approval from the NC Division of Soil and Water, you may begin work on the installation of the BMP. A predetermined timeline for completion of the BMP will be followed closely.

After installation of the approved BMP is completed according to the predetermined specifications and verified by the staff, you will submit all receipts for the BMP to the Durham SWCD. A request for payment form will be filled with the state and you will be issued a payment reimbursing you for the predetermined average cost of installation of the BMP.

Average Cost Share

Participants can be reimbursed up to 75% of a predetermined average cost for each BMP installed. The applicant is responsible for the remaining 25% of the costs. A limited number of BMP components are reimbursed based on an actual cost, but most are based on average cost estimates collected from across the state. This ensures that the public funds that are used for ACSP are used economically to insure water quality benefits while being equal to all participants across the state.

There are some cost share and acreage restrictions depending on the BMPs used, the type of operation involved, or policy set by the local soil and water conservation district or N.C. Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Cost share incentive payments are also available to encourage the use of certain agronomic management practices.

ACSP staff will be happy to explain all cost calculations for the BMP components at the time the contracts are originally signed.

For more information, please contact the Durham Soil and Water Conservation District at 919-560-0558 or visit

District Partnership with the NRCS

The Durham Soil & Water Conservation District, in partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), offers a wide verity of conservation programs designed to help farmers, landowners, and the environment. For a complete list of programs and details about NRCS, please check out the following documents:
Falls Lake Agriculture Rule, 15A NCAC 2B Rule 0280

Establishes collective nitrogen and Phosphorus reduction goals for agricultural operations in the watershed. This rule will affect anyone who engages in agricultural operations in the Falls Lake Watershed, produces crops or horticulture products (excluding trees) primarily for financial profit, engages in research activities in support of commercial production or has:
  • 5 or more horses
  • 20 or more cattle
  • 20 or more swine not in a feedlot
  • 150 or more swine in a feedlot
  • 120 or more sheep
  • 130 or more goats
  • 650 or more turkeys
  • 3,500 or more chickens
  • any combination that exceeds 20,000 pounds of live weight at anytime
All persons this rule effects must register with their Local Advisory Committee. To register or for more details, please visit the NC Division of Soil and Water Conservation's website at