Maryland Agricultural Highlights — March 2021
Applications for Conservation Grants Due March 19, 2021
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) reminds livestock farmers in Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, and Washington counties that March 19, 2021, is the deadline to apply for special funding to help cover the cost of installing manure management and stream protection practices on their farms. Approximately $10 million in conservation assistance is available from the department through a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS). In many cases, the funds may be combined with state cost-share to make the installation of these practices more affordable. Farmers should contact their local soil conservation districts by the deadline to get their projects evaluated and ranked following NRCS standards. For more information, read MDA’s press release.
Apply for Manure Injection Cost-Share Grants
MDA is offering cost-share grants to help farmers cover the cost of injecting manure into the soil to help prevent nutrient runoff, reduce odors, and preserve beneficial surface residue. Cost-share funding of up to $45 an acre is available through the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program to hire custom operators, rent or lease equipment, or offset operating costs associated with manure injection. Farmers can learn more on MDA’s website.
Online Recertification Seminar for Lawn Care Professionals Set for March 23, 2021
MDA and University of Maryland Extension will offer a recertification seminar on March 23, 2021, from 9:30–11:30 a.m. for lawn care professionals who want to renew their Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certificates. This training is free and registration is required. Signup on the event webpage.
Lawn Fertilizer Blackout Dates End March 1, 2021
The department reminds citizens and lawn care professionals that fertilizer products containing nitrogen and phosphorus may now be applied to lawns as long as the ground is not hard-frozen or snow-covered and heavy rain is not predicted. Lawn care professionals hired to fertilize lawns must be licensed and certified by MDA. Citizens can verify that their lawn care provider is certified by visiting MDA’s website.
New Nutrient Management Webinars Now Available
MDA has posted several new, on-demand webinars on its website for certified nutrient management consultants and farmers who need continuing education credits. The new webinars feature presentations on the following topics: Giant Miscanthus Production and Fertility, 2020 Nutrient Management Update, Lime Requirements, Basic Soil Science, and Managing Risk in a Changing Climate. Additional webinars are available on MDA’s website. Participants are required to pass a quiz in order to receive continuing education credits.
Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts Annual Report Now Published
The Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts (MASCD) has released its 2020 annual report titled, “Meeting Conservation Challenges Head On.” The report highlights how Maryland’s 24 soil conservation districts are helping farmers protect natural resources on their farms for a cleaner, healthier Chesapeake Bay. The report is available on MASCD’s website.
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, State Soil Conservation Committee, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, and University of Maryland Extension.