Department Launches 2019 ‘Manure Happens’ Public Education Campaign
ANNAPOLIS, MD –The Maryland Department of Agriculture has launched its 2019 Manure Happens public education campaign to help citizens understand why farmers recycle manure as a natural crop fertilizer and soil conditioner, and how they work to protect local waterways from runoff. The 2019 campaign focuses on the soil health benefits of using manure as a crop fertilizer and soil amendment along with the rules farmers must follow to protect water quality in local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The ads will run in local newspapers, websites, and social media throughout the month of March.
“Marylanders are passionate about where their food comes from and how it is produced,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “The Manure Happens campaign helps Marylanders understand why farmers use manure as a crop fertilizer and the practices they follow to protect the health of nearby waterways. In upcoming weeks, people will begin to see—and smell—manure being applied to fields by farmers as they prepare the soil for spring planting. Please be considerate to our hardworking farmers, and remember to share the road when driving in farm country.”
Maryland farmers are required to follow nutrient management plans when fertilizing crops and managing animal manure. These science-based plans specify how much fertilizer, manure, or other nutrient sources may be safely applied to crops to achieve yields and prevent excess nutrients from impacting waterways. Farmers are prohibited from spreading manure on their fields in winter or when the ground is frozen. March 1 was the first opportunity for most farmers to recycle manure generated over the winter as a crop fertilizer.
To further protect water resources, Maryland farmers are required to have stream setbacks and livestock exclusion measures in place. Farmers using certain tillage systems are required to incorporate manure into fields within 48 hours of application. In addition, Maryland’s Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) regulations are being phased in over the next several years to help farmers who use manure as a crop fertilizer protect waterways from phosphorus runoff.
The public education ads direct visitors to the department’s Manure Happens website at mda.maryland.gov/manure.
In addition to providing citizens with information on how farmers recycle manure resources, the website offers resources for farmers who currently use commercial fertilizers and are considering making the switch to manure and farmers who sell manure resources as part of their farm’s business model. The page provides links to additional resources available for farmers, including grants to transport poultry litter and livestock manure, tax credits, technical guidance and scientific research on the benefits of manure as a crop fertilizer and soil amendment. In addition, the website includes links to Maryland’s nutrient management regulations and spotlights farmers who use manure as a valuable resource.
The department’s 2019 educational advertising campaign includes three ads with different themes. The Walk This Way ad focuses on how the organic matter in chicken manure helps the soil store nutrients and ward off erosion. The Singing the Praises of Manure ad focuses on the soil health benefits of livestock manure. In addition, the campaign’s namesake ad, Manure Happens has been updated with fun new imagery. To see all of the department’s manure education ads developed over the years, visit mda.maryland.gov/manure.
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