Maryland Agricultural Highlights – September 2019
Across Maryland, farmers are beginning to plant fall cover crops on their fields to help protect the Bay from nutrient runoff and build organic matter in their soils. The earlier farmers get their cover crops planted, the greater the environmental and soil health benefits. Farmers who signed up for Maryland’s cover crop grant program can receive a $10 to $20 per acre planting bonus if they get their fields planted by October 1. The actual amount depends on the planting method used. For more information, farmers should visit the department’s website, contact their local soil conservation district, or call the department’s Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program at 410-841-5864.
Nutrient Management Plan Writing Workshops Offered September 26 and October 4
The Maryland Department of Agriculture and University of Maryland Extension will offer two workshops on How to Write a Nutrient Management Plan. The first workshop will be held September 26, at the Montgomery Extension Office in Derwood with an optional plan-writing clinic on October 1. The second workshop will be held October 4, at the Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown with an optional plan-writing clinic on October 8. The workshops are for people who are new to the nutrient management plan-writing process. Continuing education credits will be awarded to consultants who have passed the nutrient management certification exam within the last year. The $20 registration fee covers materials and lunch. Visit the department’s website to download a registration form or call 410-841-5959.
Sagamore Farm Pasture Walk Set for September 18
Horse farm operators large and small are invited to join the University of Maryland Extension for a pasture walk at Sagamore Farm in Baltimore County on September 18, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. to learn how this world-renowned horse operation manages its pastures. Topics will include fall fertilization and weed control along with forage selection and establishment. For more information, visit the event webpage or contact Erika Crowl at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-887-8090 to RSVP.
Howard Soil Conservation District to Host Farm Academy September 28
The Howard Soil Conservation District will host a Farm Academy on Saturday, September 28, at Triadelphia Lake View Farm in Glenelg. Visitors will see firsthand what it’s like to operate a farm. Triadelphia Lake View Farm has been in the Brown family for over a century. Originally a dairy operation, it was converted to a Christmas tree and produce operation in the 1980s with farm-fresh meats and other products added over the years. The event is free. Register by calling the Howard Soil Conservation District at 410-313-0680.
Caroline County Agricultural Conservation Drainage Project Now Complete
Construction is now complete on a major agricultural conservation drainage project in Caroline County that aims to improve water quality and reduce crop losses on agricultural fields during heavy rains. The Caroline Soil Conservation District provided design work for a project located on the Mezger Farm in the central portion of the county. The project included the installation of drainage tiles throughout the farm field to remove excess water and eliminate crop losses, a nutrient and sediment loss monitoring system, and a water control structure. Additionally, a one-acre wetland was created to filter runoff and a farm ditch was converted into a 30-foot wide grassed waterway that will significantly reduce erosion. The project is expected to serve as a model for future agricultural drainage projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic. It was supported by a grant from Shore Rivers, an Eastern Shore clean water advocacy group. For more information, contact Shore Rivers at 443-385-0511 or email@example.com. Caroline County farmers interested in drainage projects for their farms should contact the Caroline Soil Conservation District at 410-479-1202/ext. 3 or CarolineSCD@gmail.com.
Garrett Soil Conservation District Cooperators Dinner Set for September 19
The Garrett Soil Conservation District will host its annual Cooperators Dinner on September 19 at the Southern Garrett Squad Hall. The district’s 2019 Cooperator of the Year, Kenny and Deborah Green and the Green Family, will be honored at the event along with long serving employees and former board Chairman George Bishoff, who recently stepped down following 49 years of service. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children. For more information, call 301-501-5886.
Homeowners Should Follow Label Instructions When Applying Lawn Fertilizer
The Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds homeowners that it is important to read and follow all label instructions before applying fertilizer to lawns. Experts agree that fall is the best time to fertilize most lawns based on soil test results. Fertilizer should be applied based on the size of your yard and your lawn’s nutritional requirements. Too much fertilizer can weaken your lawn and harm the Chesapeake Bay. Do not apply fertilizer near streams and waterways if heavy rain is predicted. For more tips and information on soil testing and Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law, visit the department’s website.
STEM Teachers Tour Montgomery County Farms
More than 30 STEM instructors recently got a firsthand look at how Montgomery County farmers grow their crops and protect the Chesapeake Bay as part of a five-day Mini-Course sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. During the agriculture segment of the course, teachers got to see a manure storage structure, no till farming practices, and other conservation practices that farmers use to grow our food and protect natural resources and the Chesapeake Bay. Kudos to the Montgomery Soil Conservation District, Montgomery Office of Agriculture, and local University of Maryland Extension office for putting together this eye-opening program. Kellie Rogers, program coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said, “Everything was amazing, I could never have planned or even imagined a better day to immerse the teachers in farming of Montgomery County and its challenges and successes for the Bay.” For additional program highlights, contact John Zawitoski at John.Zawitoski@montgomerycountymd.gov.
Harford Soil Conservation District Turns 75
The Harford Soil Conservation District will celebrate 75 years of helping Maryland farmers and producers protect natural resources at a celebration on Sunday September 8, at Swan Harbor Farm in Havre de Grace. For more information, contact Leslie Zink at 410-838-6181.
Maryland’s Conservation Partnership is a coalition of federal, state, and local agriculture agencies dedicated to protecting and conserving natural resources and promoting Maryland agriculture. Members include the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, the State Soil Conservation Committee, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency and University of Maryland Extension.