ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Division of Agriculture (MDA) at present introduced that the sign-up interval for this yr’s annual Cover Crop Program will run from July 1-16, 2021. The favored conservation program supplies farmers with cost-share help to offset seed, labor, and tools prices related to planting cowl crops on their fields in fall to construct wholesome soils and defend the Chesapeake Bay.
“The success and recognition of the Cowl Crop Program is considered one of many examples that present how Maryland is main the nation on sustainable agriculture practices,” mentioned Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Cowl crops are a important software in our efforts to guard the Chesapeake Bay watershed whereas additionally selling wholesome, productive farmland throughout the state. I encourage all farmers to contact their native soil conservation district and study extra about this system’s new incentives and utility course of.”
Enrollment will probably be carried out fully by mail. Farmers who participated in final yr’s cowl crop program will obtain registration packets within the mail later this month. Starting July 1, functions may even be obtainable on this system’s website. To be thought-about for cost-share, functions must be mailed to the native soil conservation district for processing and have to be postmarked by July 16, 2021. Farmers who’ve questions or want help with their functions ought to contact their local soil conservation district.
This yr’s Cowl Crop Program options larger charges, extra planting flexibility, and a wide range of particular incentives for sure highly-valued practices. Eligible farmers can obtain as much as $75/acre in cost-share grants to include conventional cowl crops into their fields this fall. The utmost fee for aerial seeding with incentives is $80/acre.
Incentives for this season embody:
- Base funds have been raised to $45/acre for integrated seed and $50/acre for aerial seed or aerial floor seeding.
- A $10/acre early planting incentive is being provided for integrated seed.
- A $10/acre incentive is obtainable to farmers who plant both rye or a multi-species cowl crop.
- Maryland farmers who aerial seed or floor seed cowl crops into standing corn on or earlier than September 10 qualify for a $10/acre incentive fee.
- Incentives to terminate cowl crops after Might 1, 2022 can be found.
- Farmers could plant cowl crops after corn, soybeans, sorghum, tobacco, greens, hemp, and millet.
Cowl crops are essential to the well being of the Chesapeake Bay and the productiveness of Maryland’s farmland. Within the fall, cold-hardy cereal grains are planted as cowl crops in newly harvested fields. As they develop, cowl crops present a dwelling, protecting cowl towards erosion and nutrient runoff whereas constructing the soil’s natural matter for subsequent yr’s crop. They will even defend fields from an excessive amount of or too little rain. To assist create range, eligible cowl crop species could also be blended with radishes and legumes, together with clover, Austrian winter peas, and bushy vetch utilizing a wide range of two and three-species mixes.
Farmers are required to incorporate a accomplished present Nutrient Administration Plan Certification with their cowl crop functions. This way could also be downloaded from this system’s website, and have to be signed by each the farm operator and the one who ready the farm’s plan.
Maryland’s Cowl Crop Program is run by MDA and the state’s 24 soil conservation districts by way of the Maryland Agricultural Water High quality Price-Share (MACS) Program. Candidates have to be in good standing with MACS and in compliance with Maryland’s nutrient administration laws. Different restrictions and circumstances apply. Funding for the 2021-2022 Cowl Crop Program is offered by the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Belief Fund.