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Maryland State Technical Committee

Maryland State Technical Committee

July 20, 2011

Assistant State Conservationist for Programs Tom Morgart welcomed 13 attendees of the State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). Members introduced themselves.

Tom informed the group that Maryland NRCS has a number of vacancies they are looking to fill before the end of the calendar year and will be advertised in the near future. Positions include an Agronomist, Farm Bill Programs Specialist, and Contracting Specialist.

Sub-Committee Reports

Forestry - Steve Koehn

  • Woodland Incentive Program
    • Landowners are signing up, many with small acres
    • Looking for a better system to track
  • Emerald Ash Boar
    • Western Shore of Maryland is quarantined
    • DNR is working with MDA to develop a Disaster Response Plan
    • NRCS should put a note in their technical guide to avoid planting any kind of Ash trees on the Western Shore, also amend CREP guidelines
  • DNR is working with US Forest Service to develop a “Forest Patch Stewardship Planning” handbook
    • Outlines how to develop one plan for a group of landowners
    • Like co-op planning of the past
  • National Association of State Foresters Conference in Baltimore September 18-22
    • Looking for NRCS participation in a booth and field tour

Nutrient Management – Bill Angstadt

  • Mid-Atlantic Precision Agriculture Equipment Day in Caroline County August 30th
  • Second CEAP study to include:
    • All years up to 2011
    • New questions about nutrient management
    • More data points
    • Suggest outreach to landowners about the importance of filling out the survey
  • Upper Chester River Showcase Watershed
    • Suggest event to announce final Farm Assessment Report
    • Suggest NRCS request funding for a new practice, on-farm water sampling
    • Asks if there’s a possibility for a second showcase watershed in Washington/Frederick area.
      • Tom stated that NRCS’ current budget won’t allow for another showcase at this time, but it has potential if it’s leveraged through an outside grant
      • Group suggests the Antietam Creek Watershed is a good combined MD/PA project

Outreach- Genevieve Backus

  • USDA’s Hispanic and Women’s Claims Outreach
    • Partners are asked to continue to share information on the claims process at meetings with constituents
  • A CCPI opportunity for poultry producers on the eastern shore to plant buffers was recently announced
  • The Maryland Legislative Fact sheet was distributed

Programs

Tom Morgart announced that Payment rates may be nationalized for 2012. All 2011 program funds have been allocated.

EQIP/CBWI- A record $19 million was obligated to Maryland producers

  • EQIP Oysters- obligated $975 into 16 contracts for producers
    • Looking for partners to monitor contract progress
  • CIG- no Maryland CIGs will be offered in 2011.
    • Bill Angstadt suggests there be a long-term support process to keep track of past CIGs and share information as the project progress.
  • CCPI
    • Offered $2.7 million for cover crops, sign-up is now over and all the money will be obligated
    • $200,00 now available for vegetative environmental buffers
  • WRP- Maryland met the 2,000 acre enrollment cap in 2011.

New business

2012 Resource and Budget Priorities Handout. Comments are due ASAP.

  • NHQ is asking states to rank resource concerns to inform the budget-setting process in 2012. States are also asked to identify their ideal split of TA and FA for each program, and the number of acres that will be treated with the requested funding. States are not sure if this information will be put into action or replicated in future years.
  • The committee agrees with the resource concerns as ranked on the handout.
    • Suggest many list items can be combined into 6 larger areas.
    • Suggest matching ranking and funding with TMDL needs
      • Tom explains this is best done during contract ranking

Energy Practices Handout. Feedback requested by August 5th. In 2012, NRCS will implement practices identified in energy audits. Would like to identify most important energy saving practices for Dairy and Poultry operations.

  • Bill Satterfield was asked to provide feedback for poultry.
  • Group recommends prioritizing practices with long-term pay-off
  • Also recommends cost lists are set up to pay more on long-term practices.

Steve Koehn asks for an RC&D update.

  • Eastern Shore is closing.
  • Southern Maryland is continuing to operate in the same space, and have hired a new Coordinator.
  • Western Maryland is still operating, may be moving to the district building in Cumberland.

NRCS has the ability to fund unsolicited agreements when funds are available. If there is a project that would further agricultural resource conservation, consider sending the proposal to NRCS for potential funding. Proposals are typically structured to leverage existing financial support.

Rob Schnabel announces the Grazers Network has received a grant to extend to Upper Potomac and Pennsylvania.

Meeting adjourned at 10:00.