On Thursday, August 28, 2014, Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley announced a new record for cover crop enrollment. Governor O'Malley made the announcement at the Maryland State Fair which opened on August 22, 2014 and will close on Monday, September 1 - Labor Day. A large portion of this fair is focused on local farmers, 4-H Clubs, and other programs that impact Maryland's environmental health.
One of Maryland’s greatest assets is the Chesapeake Bay. Its great draw for tourists and its extensive impact on the seafood industry makes it a highly valued body of water. Sadly, over the past few decades, pollution levels within the Bay and most – if not all – of its tributaries' pollution levels have endangered the beauty and productivity of the Bay.
Studies have been done to identify the various sources of pollution – from Mother Nature to industry and corporations to individuals. Numerous programs have been launched to help reduce the pollution at its source. One such source of pollution is identified as run-off from uncovered… unprotected soil... following farmers’ crop harvests.
A solution was initiated by the development of the Crop Cover Program.
O’Malley announced that 1,849 Maryland farmers have requested funding this year to plant a record 641,000 acres of winter grains. The state's cover crop program gives grants to farmers who plant the crops immediately after the summer harvest. The 2014 guidelines require farmers to plant their cover crop by scheduled dates as early as October 1 and as late as November 5 - to insure the effectiveness in absorption of unused nutrients as well as preventing soil erosion. The grant programs also provides a financial incentive to plant wheat, barley, rye and oats along with a few other crops. This program also provides the farmers with a cash crop for additional income.
More information on this state farming program that will greatly improve the environmental impact of farming on the Chesapeake Bay water quality can be found by clicking here. You may also contact Norman Astle, Program Administrator at 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway; Annapolis, MD 21401. Telephone: 410-841-5834
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