Maryland Agricultural Highlights – May 2019
Farmers Urged to Review Draft III Watershed Implementation Plan
The Maryland Department of Agriculture encourages farmers to read and comment on the state’s newly released draft plan to protect and restore the health of streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay by 2025. Maryland’s draft Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) III has been in the making for many months and includes farmer and citizen input obtained during a series of public meetings held last summer in every Maryland county. The department encourages our constituents to read the draft plan, submit public comments, and participate in an informational webinar on May 17. To register for the informational webinar, please visit the Maryland Department of the Environment’s website.
Recertification Seminars Offered for Lawn Care Professionals
The department has added two new recertification seminars for lawn care professionals who are required to undergo two hours of continuing education each year in order to renew their Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certificates. There is no cost for the recertification class, however, advance registration is required and seating is limited. A two-hour training session is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22 in Annapolis. An additional webinar training session has been scheduled for June 11. Registration forms are posted on the department’s website. Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certificates are valid through June 30 of each year and may be renewed annually for a $100 fee and verification of two hours of annual recertification training. Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law requires lawn care professionals be certified by the department’s Nutrient Management Program or work under the direct supervision of an individual who is certified.
Renewal Forms for Lawn Care Professionals Will Be Mailed in June
The department has announced that renewal forms for certified professional fertilizer applicators, business license holders, and trained employees will be mailed in mid-May. Citizens can verify that their lawn care provider is certified by visiting the Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law webpage.
Homeowners Reminded to Use Best Management When Caring for Lawns
With the arrival of warm weather, the Maryland Department of Agriculture encourages homeowners to use best management practices to maintain and enhance the health and beauty of their lawns and to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Homeowners are reminded to sharpen lawnmower blades for a clean cut, mow the grass high to shade out weeds and conserve moisture, and remove no more than one-third of the grass height at each mowing. In addition, grass clippings should be left on lawns to provide free fertilizer. For more tips and information on Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law, visit the department’s website.
St. Mary’s Soil Conservation District Annual Report Available
The St. Mary’s Soil Conservation District has released its 2018 annual report outlining its agricultural and urban conservation programs to protect natural resources and the Chesapeake Bay. The report highlights the district’s 2018 Cooperator of the Year, Rick Gerek, who farms 36 acres in St. Mary’s City. Mr. Gerek manages a small herd of beef cattle and raises hay and row crops. He has a current nutrient management plan and uses best management practices such as crop rotation, no-till farming, reduced tillage, and cover crops to improve the health of his soil, reduce nutrient and sediment losses from his farm, and protect water quality. Read the full annual report here.
The Maryland Agricultural Awareness Alliance is a coalition of federal, state and local agricultural agencies and commodity groups dedicated to educating Marylanders on agricultural issues.