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Maryland State Technical Committee

Maryland State Technical Committee

July 21, 2010

Acting Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, Tansel Hudson welcomed 24 attendees of the State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). Members introduced themselves.

Sub Committee Reports

Nutrient Management

The subcommittee met July 2nd. Bill Angstadt shared the following concerns:

  • The 590 nutrient management standard should be revised for FY11 to take systems or tiered approach to include:
    • New practices

    • Bonus payments

    • Prioritize producer payments not based on first come first serve, but to leverage dollars and effectiveness through bundles, or to those already implementing practices.

      • Tom Morgart,  reports that National Headquarters (NHQ) only wants to contract one item at a time in CBWI and EQIP, but this bundling system may fit into CSP.

      • Mimi Wright suggests targeting watershed for funding NM practices.

    • Add evaluation deliverable on job sheet to ensure entire job was executed.

  • Lack of data sharing on NMP locations.
    • Tom Morgart has spoken with Extension about sharing NMP data to help target gaps throughout entire state, but will not include maps only data.

  • Outreach to historically underserved locations through assistance from private sector.

    • Tim Pilkowski was working on a request for proposals for technical assistance

  • Economics of cover crops, change NRCS payments to reflect the amount of nutrients different crops absorb.

    • Tom Morgart reports that NRCS cannot pay by pound or bonuses, Farm Bill rules mandate that NRCS can only pay for real costs incurred.

Forestry

Dan Rider reported the subcommittee has not met but forestry in general reports the following info:

  • A unified standard format for forest management plans is still in draft form.
  • Looking into ways to comingle state cost share and EQIP funds for forestry.
    • Possibly hire staff to help foresters understand NRCS process

    • Cross-train foresters on toolkit

    • NRCS fact sheet for foresters that shows all cost share options for forestry.

  • Biomass harvesting BMP guidelines should be developed to meet emerging bio energy industry.
  • TSPs
    • Anne Lynn reports 2 more foresters have been certified in MD, streamlining the system is being addressed at the NHQ level

Outreach

Genevieve Backus reported the committee met July 15th. The group shared the following info:

  • A fact sheet on CSP has been developed as well as a fact sheet specific to CSP bundles.
  • Committee will be conducting an outreach study on why women are not participating in Farm Bill programs in MD, will develop communications plan to address his underserved population.
  • Committee meetings have not been well attended; will give teleconferencing option at future meetings. If participation does not increase, the need for a outreach committee will be reevaluated.
Resources

Grasses for outside poultry tunnel fans - Anne Lynn, State Resource Conservationist reported that the National Plant Materials Center has done 3 years of research on the stiff grasses for outside poultry house tunnel fans. The most effective species will be added to hedgerow standard. The information on these species will be given to Eastern Shore suppliers of vegetation. A new job sheet and practice standard will be developed to include the research findings.

Programs

EQIP, CBWI, WHIP - Tom Morgart passed out information on FY10 obligations for, including number of contracts, sum of program dollars, count of practices and demographics of contracts awarded.

  • EQIP- $170,000 remaining from $6.6 million allocation, request for $100,000 more has been requested. Farm requirements for percentage of livestock, socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers were exceed.
  • CBWI- $110,000 remaining from $7.5 million allocation. o Suggested remaining could be used for forestry.

AMA - Ed Burns reported 60 contracts were funded for high tunnels, 37 applications (3/4 for high tunnels) were not funded.

WHIP – Ed Burns reports 6-8 applications will be funded from second allocation of $101,000.

CSP- Ed Burns reports for sign-up 1, 37 contracts were signed for a total of $287,000. 38 applications are in for round 2. Estimates 28,000 acres will be enrolled after all sign-ups are complete.

GRP – Tiffany Davis reported that there are one 20 year rental, one 15 year rental, and nine 10 year rental contracts totaling 900 acres. The budget allocation for the FY is $100,035; however, rental obligations exceeded the budget so funds have been requested to NHQ to fund remaining contracts.

WRP- Tiffany Davis reports that interest is steady this year with about 2,500 acres of easement being worked on; 680 acres of 30 year easement and 1,855 acres of permanent easement. 2010, offers and contracting should be completed by September 1st. Also, 2009 property surveys are being worked on.

FRPP – There are $4.4 million dollars in 2010 FRPP contracts with 5 entities: Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Cecil Land Trust, Worcester County, Queen Anne’s County and Prince George’s County.

Tiffany Davis also reported that she sent a query of interest for 2011 easements, feedback from non-profits looking at 1,000 acres.

2005/2006 easement contracts are closing.

New Business

Civil Rights report - Tom Morgart reports that NRCS contract demographics was compared to overall Maryland workforce demographics. The category NRCS is lacking is contracts for female producers. NRCS will begin an effort to target this population.

FY11 New Ideas- Tom Morgart reports he knows of two potential new practices: gasification for poultry manure (2012), and air scrubber to remove ammonia from livestock production areas (2012).

  • Dan Rider suggests looking into a practice that allows the application of poultry litter to forestland
  • Aimee Weldon suggests a practice for fencing deer out of buffer areas
    •  Anne Lynn says this is a better fit for CREP

Next Meeting - October 27, 2010, 9:00 a.m.