Tag: Maryland Department of Agriculture


MDA Announces Cover Crop Sign-up
Includes Increased Payment Rates and New Cover Crop Plus+ Option

ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 23, 2022) — The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced that mail-in enrollment for this year’s Cover Crop Program runs from July 1-18, 2022. The popular conservation program provides farmers with cost-share grants to help pay for seed, labor, and equipment costs to plant cover crops in the fall to control erosion, recycle nutrients, build soil health, and protect the Chesapeake Bay.

“Several exciting changes have been made to our traditional Cover Crop Grant Program this year,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “We’ve also introduced a new Cover Crop Plus+ option for farmers willing to go the extra mile to build their soil’s health.”

Farmers who enroll in the department’s Traditional Cover Crop Program receive an increased base payment of $55/acre and up to $35/acre in add-on incentives to incorporate cover crops into their fields this fall. The maximum payment (including incentives) to aerial seed cover crops has increased to $95/acre. New this year, a late planting extension has been built into the program for farmers who cannot get their cover crops planted by the November 5 planting deadline. 

Cover crops are essential to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and the productivity of Maryland’s farmland. In the fall, cold-hardy cereal grains are planted as cover crops in newly harvested fields. As they grow, cover crops provide a living, protective cover against erosion and nutrient runoff while building the soil’s organic matter for next year’s crop. They can even protect fields from too much or too little rain. Eligible small grains may be mixed with radishes and legumes using a variety of two and three-species mixes to help create diversity. Traditional cover crops may not be harvested; however, they may be grazed or chopped for livestock forage after becoming well established. Farmers who participated in last year’s program will receive registration packets in the mail. Beginning July 1, interested farmers may download applications from the Cover Crop website. To be considered for cost-share, applications should be mailed or dropped off at the local soil conservation district by July 18, 2022. 

A new pilot program, Cover Crop Plus+, is being introduced this year. This program option offers higher incentive payments and more planting choices for farmers who sign a 3-year commitment to plant cover crop mixes and practice conservation tillage to improve soil health. Farmers agree to keep a living root system in enrolled fields for most of the year and manage the cover crop to achieve maximum soil health and water quality benefits. The base payment for this premium incentive program is $115/acre per year. Optional add-on practices can increase the reimbursement rate to $160/acre. To qualify for payment, optional add-ons must be new practices for an enrolled field. 

Enrollment for the Cover Crop Plus+ program runs concurrently with the Traditional Cover Crop Program. Applications will be available on the Cover Crop Plus+ website beginning July 1. To be considered for cost-share, applications should be mailed or dropped off at the local soil conservation district by July 18, 2022. Farmers may participate in both the traditional and Cover Crop Plus+ programs. Certain restrictions apply. 

Maryland’s Cover Crop Program is administered by the department’s Conservation Grants Program and the state’s 24 soil conservation districts. Applicants must be in good standing with the program and in compliance with Maryland’s nutrient management regulations. Other restrictions and conditions apply. Funding for the 2022-2023 Cover Crop Program is provided by the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.

Farmers who have questions or need assistance with their applications should contact their local soil conservation district. For more information, please contact Jason Keppler at (410) 841-5864 or jason.keppler@maryland.gov.

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Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter @MdAgDept

Over 1,632 Tons of Tires Recycled Through Ag Scrap Tire Recycling Events This Spring

Over 1,632 Tons of Tires Recycled Through Ag Scrap Tire Recycling Events This Spring
MDFB and program partners kept tires from filling landfills, becoming hazards

DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. (May 19, 2022) — Maryland Farm Bureau (MDFB), in partnership with the Maryland Department of the Environment and Maryland Environmental Services, facilitated recycling of 1,631.57 tons of tires in Maryland this spring through their Ag Scrap Tire Recycling events. This amount equals 163,157 passenger tires recycled.

Many of the collection events aptly culminated around Earth Day, and the recycling locations were held in Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, and Talbot counties, which were targeted as having the greatest need this year.

MDFB helped facilitate these free-of-charge collection sites to save landfill space as well as encourage farmers to remove old tires from their properties. In addition to being unsightly, the unused tires can serve as a breeding ground or habitat for mosquitos and other pests.

“The tire recycling program was extremely successful this year on the shore, and was an excellent example of collaboration between Maryland Farm Bureau, Maryland Department of Environment, Maryland Department of Agriculture, and Maryland Environmental Service to continue to work toward a cleaner Maryland,” said Marshall Cahall, MDFB District 5 director. “Many farmers were able to participate in the program and we are grateful for all of the work put forth to further the cause. We at MDFB will advocate to continue the program throughout the rest of the state in the coming years.”

Thanks to this program, there are scrap tire mulch playgrounds located throughout the state, as well as other potential areas in which the recycled product may be used. Visit the Department of the Environment for more information on this program’s reach in Maryland.

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MARYLAND FARM BUREAU®, INC. is a 501(c)(5) federation that serves as the united voice of Maryland farm families. Our organizational strength comes from the active participation of over 10,000 individual and family members who belong to the state’s 23 local county Farm Bureau organizations. Since 1915, Maryland Farm Bureau has been committed to protecting and growing agriculture and preserving rural life. Maryland Farm Bureau is a proud member of the American Farm Bureau® Federation. www.mdfarmbureau.com

Amber Pearson | Maryland Farm Bureau, Inc. (TSN Communications)
573.268.6853 | amber@tsncommunications.com

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