Maryland Agricultural Highlights — December 2020
Deadline to Apply for Animal Waste Technology Grants Approaching
The deadline to apply for animal waste technology grants awarded by the Maryland Department of Agriculture is December 31. Animal waste technology projects that are cost-effective, proven, innovative, and adaptable to Maryland will be considered. Maryland’s Animal Waste Technology Fund has $3.35 million to invest in innovative technologies during this grant cycle. Proposals will be accepted from vendors, businesses, and individuals. There are no maximum or minimum request amounts. Read the request for proposals and grant evaluation criteria on the website.
Nutrient Management Training Set for December 15
The Maryland Department of Agriculture and the University of Maryland Extension will host a live Zoom webinar on December 15 to update farmers and consultants on Maryland’s nutrient management regulations. The webinar will focus on current topics affecting the agricultural community. Participants will receive three continuing education units in all agricultural nutrient management categories. Register online here.
New Conservation Buffer Initiative Launching January 11
The Maryland Department of Agriculture will launch a new pilot program in January that offers attractive incentive payments, easy sign-up, and more management options for farmers who want to plant streamside buffers on their farms to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Maryland’s Conservation Buffer Initiative provides funding and free technical assistance for forest buffers planted next to waterways, grass buffers planted next to waterways or field ditches, and streamside access control areas adjacent to pastures. The four-week enrollment period is from Jan. 11 to Feb. 5, 2021. Farmers should visit the department’s website for details on the initiative. For additional information, please contact a local soil conservation district.
Lawn Fertilizer Blackout Dates Now in Effect
The Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds citizens that lawn fertilizer blackout dates authorized by Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law are now in effect. The law prohibits citizens and lawn care professionals from applying nitrogen and phosphorus to lawns until March 1, when cool season grasses emerge from winter dormancy and can benefit from nutrient applications. Applying fertilizer to hard or frozen ground increases the risk for nutrient runoff in storm drains that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. To further protect water quality, fertilizer may not be used to de-ice walkways and driveways. For more information on Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law, visit the department’s website.
Conservation Reserve Program Sign-up Opens January 4
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that the sign-up period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will be open from Jan. 4 to Feb. 12, 2021. The competitive land conservation program provides technical and financial assistance to eligible landowners to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their land. For more information or to apply for CRP, farmers should contact their local Farm Service Agency.
Department Encourages Marylanders to Buy Locally-Grown Holiday Trees
Starting to decorate for the holidays? The Maryland Department of Agriculture is encouraging residents to buy fresh-cut, locally-grown Christmas trees, rather than artificial trees or those grown out of state. Visiting a local tree farm is a great, low-risk activity for families looking to get outside and celebrate the holiday season. Plus, buying a local tree supports family-owned farms and businesses, preserves farmland, and protects the environment. Find a local Maryland Christmas tree farmer near you by visiting Maryland’s Best.
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.