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News Release

Maryland Forums to Explore Soil-Health-Building Opportunities

Annapolis, Md., February 6, 2014 – Farmers, agricultural business operators and conservationists are invited to participate in forums about cover crops and soil health from 8:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 18, at two different locations in Maryland.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is partnering with Mid-Atlantic Association of Professional Soil Scientists and the University of Maryland's Eastern Shore's Small Farm Program to sponsor the Maryland forums. The forums will be conducted simultaneously along with more than 200 other forums throughout the country. They will be in concert with the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health in Omaha, Nebraska, sponsored by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

In addition to providing a venue to discuss local soil health opportunities, benefits and barriers, the forums will feature live-streaming video of the national conference’s opening session featuring presentations by Howard G. Buffett, NRCS Chief Jason Weller, Ray Gaesser, Iowa farmer and president of the American Soybean Association, and a panel of farmers.

“By taking advantage of communications technology, local participants will be able to view discussions about the soil-health movement nationally,” says Maryland Outreach Coordinator Buddy Bowling. “Then local farmers and ranchers can discuss the benefits of healthier soil and how to improve soil health on their land.”

Bowling says a soil-health expert will be at each forum in Maryland to lead the local discussion and answer questions. He says forum participants will also have the opportunity to provide ideas and recommendations that will be forwarded to national researchers and policy makers.

The two Maryland forum locations are the Prince George’s Agricultural Service Center in Upper Marlboro and the University of Maryland Extension Wicomico County Office in Salisbury.

Because seating is limited, reservations are required. To participate, contact Nora De La Rosa at (443) 482- 2907 or nora.delarosa@md.usda.gov.