New Incentive to Help Farmers Boost Soil Health
ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 28, 2021) — The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced new cost-share assistance for the installation of satellite storage facilities on farms using poultry manure to improve soil health for crop production. Beginning May 1, 2021, Maryland farmers receiving manure from producers in qualifying areas can apply for grants to cover up to 87.5% of construction costs.
“Covered storage structures preserve the nutrient content of poultry manure, which is shown to improve soil health when applied in accordance with a nutrient management plan,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “We are pleased to offer this important incentive to farmers as part of our ongoing commitment to promote sustainable, regenerative agriculture practices.”
In 2017, Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation establishing Maryland’s Healthy Soils Program. The program, administered by MDA’s Office of Resource Conservation, encourages farmers to adopt conservation practices that will improve soil productivity. Manure, when properly managed, supplies essential nutrients and micronutrients that plants need to grow and returns organic matter to the soil to feed microbes, build carbon, and increase water and nutrient retention.
Cost-share funding is provided by the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program. Farmers who can demonstrate their eligibility and capacity to receive manure should contact their local soil conservation district to apply. Additional financial assistance to transport manure is available through the department’s Manure Transport Program. Applicants must be in good standing with the MACS Program and in compliance with Maryland’s nutrient management regulations.
For more information on Maryland’s Soil Health Program, please visit the website.