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Washington, Frederick county farmers can apply for funds

March 13, 2007

Qualifying dairy farmers in Frederick and Washington counties can apply now for an upfront $200-per-acre incentive payment to help cover the cost of converting their existing feeding systems to a pasture-based forage system, officials said.

Benefits of the program include:

· Reducing operating costs

· Improving dairy herd health

· Reducing soil erosion

· Improving water quality

The money may be used to help farmers establish or enhance pastures, install watering systems, and install fences.

Participants may also apply for Maryland and federal cost-share assistance of up to 87.5 percent of the project's cost to install qualifying Best Management Practices through the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share and the USDA's Environmental Quality Incentive Program.

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In Frederick County, contact the county Extension office at 301-631-3578 or the Frederick/Catoctin Soil Conservation District at 301-695-2803, ext. 3.

In Washington County, contact the county Extension office at 301-791-1304 or the county Soil Conservation District at 301-797-6821, ext. 3.

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