Financial assistance available to help farmers with implementing manure rules

January 15, 2013

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Agriculture announced that financial assistance is available to help farmers cover the cost of injecting or incorporating manure, sludge, food waste and other organic products into cropland.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has earmarked $2 million in cost-share funds to assist farmers as they begin implementing the new requirements of Maryland’s recently revised nutrient management regulations.

Maryland’s revised nutrient management regulations took effect Oct. 15. A major provision requires farmers to inject or incorporate manure and other organic nutrient sources into the soil within 48 hours of application in order to achieve maximum water quality benefits for streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

Farmers who incorporate or inject all types of animal manure, food waste, sludge or other organic waste products into cropland can apply for cost-share grants from MDA.  Participation is limited to operators who have not used eligible equipment for incorporation or injection of manure during the past five years. Operators who import manure and other organic nutrient sources for use on cropland that they own or rent can participate.

While transportation costs are not cost-shared under the program, the Manure Transportation Program is available for eligible farms. Cost-share rates for manure incorporation and injection range from $10 to $55 an acre depending on the type of equipment or services used. Farmers who use manure injection receive the highest reimbursement rates.

Cost-share grants for manure incorporation and injection are administered by the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program.  Applicants must be in good standing with the program to participate and in compliance with the Nutrient Management Program. All work must be completed by June 1, and all claims for payment received by June 10. Other restrictions apply.

Farmers should visit their local soil conservation district office as soon as possible to apply.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and signup is ongoing until all funds are fully committed.

 For more information, call 410-841-5864.

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