Maryland Agricultural Highlights – June 2019
Information on Grants to Plant Cover Crops in the Mail
Farmers who want to plant fall cover crops to build healthy soils and protect water quality should check their mailboxes for important information from the Maryland Department of Agriculture on its 2019-2020 Cover Crop Program Sign-Up. Approximately $22.5 million in conservation grants is available to help farmers offset costs to plant cover crops in their fields this fall. The grant sign-up period runs from June 21 through July 17 at local soil conservation districts around the state. For more information, visit the program’s website.
Nutrient Management Certification Class for Nursery/Greenhouse Operators Set for July 2
The Maryland Department of Agriculture and the University of Maryland Extension will offer a training and certification program for operators of nurseries, greenhouses, and controlled environments who want to become certified by the department to write and update their own nutrient management plans. The training will take place July 2 at the Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown, Maryland. The cost is $35 and includes lunch. Register by June 24 by visiting the department’s website.
USDA Opens CRP and CREP Sign-Up
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is now accepting applications for certain practices under the continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, one of the country’s largest conservation programs. In addition, FSA has reopened sign-up for existing Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreements to protect environmentally sensitive cropland. Interested producers should contact their USDA Service Center. For more information, visit the website.
Homeowners Reminded to Fertilize Lawns Responsibly
Now that the hot weather has made an appearance, the Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds homeowners that fertilizer should only be applied to lawns when the grass is actively growing. To prevent runoff, fertilize warm season grasses (bermudagrass and zoysiagrass) in late spring or early summer and cool season grasses (fescues and bluegrass) in the fall. Keep fertilizer at least 10 feet away from streams and waterways and never fertilize if heavy rains are expected. For more tips on fertilizing responsibly, visit the department’s website.
Last Training Opportunity for Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certificate Renewals
The Maryland Department of Agriculture will offer a webinar training and recertification class on Tuesday, June 11 for lawn care professionals who need to renew their Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certificates. 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. Webinar registration instructions are available on the department’s website.
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.