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Maryland Agricultural Highlights — July 2020

Cover Crop Sign-up Ends July 17

Sign-up for the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s 2020-2021 Cover Crop Program runs through July 17. Farmers are encouraged to take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to apply for grants to help offset the cost of planting fall cover crops to improve soil health and protect the Chesapeake Bay. This year’s sign-up is being conducted entirely by mail. Farmers who participated in last year’s program should check their mailboxes for an application packet. Applications are also available on the program’s website. To be considered for cost-share, applications must be postmarked by July 17. Farmers who have questions or need assistance with their applications should call the department at 410-841-5864 or contact their local soil conservation district.

New Farmer’s Guide to Environmental Permits Now Available

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has revised and updated its Farmers’ Guide to Environmental Permits. The guide serves as a quick reference to help farmers, businesses, and individuals comply with Maryland’s environmental regulations. It includes state authorizations issued by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Maryland Department of the Environment, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. A commonly needed federal permit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 404, is also included. The newly revised Farmer’s Guide to Environmental Permits is available on the department’s website.

USDA’s New Pilot Program Offers Longer-Term Conservation Benefits

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will open sign-up on July 6 for CLEAR30, a new pilot program that offers farmers and landowners an opportunity to enroll in a 30-year Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract. This pilot program is available to farmers and landowners with expiring water-quality practice CRP contracts in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay regions. The sign-up period runs through Aug. 21 at local FSA offices. Farmers should visit the program’s website for more information.

Lawn Care Calendar Explains What to Do and What Not to Do to Keep Lawns Healthy

The University of Maryland Extension (UME) Home and Garden Information Center has published a lawn maintenance calendar that includes a seasonal checklist of things to do and not to do for an attractive lawn and a healthy Chesapeake Bay. A key tip is to never fertilizer cool season grasses, such as fescues and bluegrass during the summer. Instead, homeowners are advised to wait until September to fertilize cool season grasses based on soil test results. Learn more tips here.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Accepting Applications Through Aug. 28

Are you a farmer or rancher whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. USDA is accepting applications through Aug. 28. Producers should apply through the Farm Service Agency at their local USDA Service Center. 


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. 

Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889