Maryland State Technical Committee
Maryland State Technical Committee
October 19, 2011
Meeting called to order by Jon Hall.
Jon thanked the committee for attending and discussed implementation of the
Action item: Mr. Hall will send out periodic reports updating
the Committee on implementation.
Jon turned the meeting over for Committee Reports.
- Forestry Subcommittee report presented by Dan Rider.
The Subcommittee has not held a meeting this quarter, but with the growing
interest in agro forestry they will hold a meeting soon. US Forest Service
is very interested and looking to Maryland for demonstration sites. Dan will
present to the subcommittee a report regarding the possible combined funding
between Farm Bill foresters, the US Forestry Service and NRCS.
He has spoken with two non profits who are interested in partnering with us
to provide technical assistance, the reconsolidated Delmarva RC&D Council
and the National Wild Turkey Fund. He passed out a document for review and
discussion entitled Accelerating Conservation Farm Bill Programs on
Forestland (Farm Bill Foresters).
Action item: Review handout and provide feedback so Dan can
finalize the report which he will then forward to National Forestry Service.
After continued discussion of the hand out it was decided that we would
like to shoot for spring planting season to get the Forestry Techs on line.
We are hoping to bring on 3 Forestry Techs.
- Nutrient Subcommittee report presented by Bill Angstadt.
The Subcommittee held a meeting last Tuesday and discussed that there are
- NRCS Outreach for TMDLs
- Phosphorus Ditch Filters
570 CAFOs have filed Notice of Intents to develop CNMPs in the next three
years. At this point there was discussion on whether it would take 2
years or 3 years. Jon suggested the complexity of the land and operation
determines the time.
We have a gap between the need for CNMP’s and budget. They would like to
look into the possibility of a grant to assist with the funding.
Action item: Can we reach out to MDE to see if we have the
capacity to meet the demand. Of the 570 operations, how many are simple or
complex? NRCS will get an estimate of how long it takes to develop a CNMP.
If we need additional staff – can we accelerate with an implementation
Jim Baird of American Farmland Trust suggests possible group training or
workshop training. Lynn Hoot said we tried the workshop training route
it didn’t work.
Should we issue an alignment of resources to meet TMDL priority
practices/priority geographic to see if it helps us to get the farmers to
accelerate implementation? Should we try outreach to see if we can get
additional farmers to implement these practices on the ground? Jon asked
for clarification of outreach needs for TMDL’s i.e. is it lack of people
being aware of our programs or is it people are not implementing. Bill
stated that the feedback he has received indicates that MDA is working with
county agriculture working groups and with BMPs in hand they cannot reach
Discussion: Tom Morgart asked how we get to people to bring them into
contracts. Rob Schnabel spoke about grazing – he indicated we are only to
2009 levels of land conservation – we need a NRCS Grazing Specialist. Bill
stated that we need training focusing on specific groups for specific
practices. Lynn Hoot suggested evaluating practice standards and make them
more user friendly. Tom Morgart stated the new 590 standard will be coming
out soon, we need to put our focus on the new standards.
Bill stated that people are asking why NRCS is not funding absorbing
materials in Ag ditches and why we don’t have practices in place. The short
answer is the University of Maryland is not ready to work with NRCS to
develop the practice standard.
- Outreach Subcommittee presented by Genevieve Backus
Genevieve Backus - The outreach has been focusing on state fairs,
forestry meetings and high schools to get the word out about our programs.
Lisa Purnell – the University of Maryland – Eastern Shore has been
approved for an Agriculture Camp for students ages 14-17 which will be held
July 15-28, 2012. They will be able to accommodate 16 students. The
application for students is online on the APHIS website. They are also
looking for volunteers.
Genevieve – Update on female and Hispanic farmers. The claims process has
been set up for female and Hispanic farmers who feel they have been
discriminated against. We are doing a lot of outreach – predominate
discrimination claim is during the loan process. We are still actively
promoting and reporting.
Aimee Weldon - Absentee Land Owners – we are looking to hire someone to
help people to work for the program so we can promote our new Absentee Land
Owners Program which we hope will be in place by late 2011 or early 2012.
Jon gave everyone an open invitation to attend Outreach Subcommittee
meetings. We need to step up our presence at County Fairs and any other
venue where people would like to hear about our programs. We are also
looking at the possibility of a mobile NRCS office to go where the needs
- D. Soils Update by Amanda Moore
We have a National agreement with Fish and Wildlife for RFP/NFWF.
2009/2010 National Resource Inventory Surveys (NRI’s) are being compiled and
will be available in 2012 information online.
They are also updating the Chesapeake Bay (CEAP) farmer reports of data.
There will be a mailing of requests for data updates starting November 1 and
run for 30 days. We hope to have a 2012 release of that updated data.
Amanda stated she will have more information after attending the meeting
- Resources Update by Tansel Hudson
Tansel started out by stating that Resources is also in need of
additional staff. There will be training provided to certify conservation
planners in the various districts.
- Programs Update by Tom Morgart and Tiffany Davis
Tom Morgart - There are 4 National Initiatives – Air Quality, Energy,
Organic, Seasonal High Tunnel. People in Maryland will not receive Air
With the Energy Initiative, the eligible producers could voluntarily
receive an energy audit. Producers could also use this initiative to apply
for an implement the recommendations from energy audits such as variable
rate pumps; heat exchangers for removing the heat from milk and used to
supply the hot water tank thereby cutting 2 utility bills on Dairy Farms.
Poultry is very interested in insulation for retaining heat.
Question: Dan Rider (Forestry) Will greenhouses qualify? Tom said we
will find out when the standards are released, but he believes they should
Tom - Organic – will be handled the same way i.e. Headquarters will hold
the money and after receiving the ranking from the Programs staff, will
disburse accordingly to contracts.
Seasonal High Tunnel –There will be a national initiative for States to
offer seasonal high tunnels thru the EQIP program. Further guidance will be
provided when it becomes available.
People who submit requests for these Initiatives will be ranked, eligible
applications will then forwarded to National Headquarters who will be
funding contracts for these Initiatives. Action Item: Genevieve will forward
updates on the new initiatives.
Tom – NRCS is moving to regional Payment Rates will provide NRCS and
producers greater consistency in the rates being paid across State lines.
(Our region is MD/DE/PA/NJ & NY). Currently the 15 most used practices have
been regionalized, but all practices are to be regionalized by 2013.
There is a new EQIP manual – new rules include: Eligibility criteria,
which has been made simpler. Grazing challenges – we are not allowed to
provide financial assistance for a perimeter fence. Question if we could
provide this thru AMA? Tom will read the new manual and report at the next
meeting which should be in January.
Deer fencing is excluded. Buildings such as a Covered Heavy Use Area,
roofs are not allowed in any part of a building used for livestock housing
and feeding. A roofed heavy use protection area or storage area that would
provide more than incidental animal housing is not allowed. The State
Conservationist can determine that a building is a necessary component of an
animal waste system. Except where necessary for a management system. The
engineers will be looking at least cost alternatives that will be required
in these cases. In 2013, Access control, will no longer include forgone
income in payment rate.
Tom – Conservation Updates –
- We have a total of 784 contracts in 2011 and almost 1800 active
financial assistance contracts.
- In 2010 75% of CBWI money was applied on landscape. The partnership
is to be congratulated for this high level of implementation in 2011.
- With this large number of contracts, it is critical that we focus on
the implementation of new contracts and getting older contracts
completed. This year we are going to place an emphasis on getting old
contracts on schedule and implemented.
New and updated practice standards
There are seven new or updated conservation practices that will be sent
out for review in the near future. They are:
Farmstead Energy Improvement
Roofs and Covers
Pond Sealing or Lining Soil Dispersant Treatment
Pond Sealing or Lining Bentonite Treatment
Roof Runoff Structure
- Tiffany Davis gave updates on the proposed FY2012 Geographic Area Rate
Caps (GARC) to be used for GRP and WRP easement compensation.
- • GRP GARC – the proposed rates were presented and are waiting for
final approval of Headquarters. The rates are comparable to the rates of
our neighboring states.
- • WRP GARC– we had a market analysis update done which noted no
significant change from last year’s land values. We sent to a proposal
to Headquarters to use the same rates from FY2011 for FY2012. We are
waiting for them to approve the proposed WRP GARC.
We need Technical Assistance to complete WRP land surveys and The Nature
Conservatory has agreed to help facilitate acquiring the surveys. NRCS also
posted a solicitation for surveyors’ qualifications so that we could develop
a contract with surveying firms to do survey work with us during the year.
At this point Tom Morgart opened the floor for discussion, comments and
Rob Schnabel (Grazing) – there is a grazing grant for Franklin, PA and
Washington County, MD.
Dan Rider (Forestry) thanked NRCS for all their support at the National
Association of State Foresters Meeting. NRCS sponsored a Forestry Technical
Lynn Hoot – the Farm Certification Program needs a couple of people to become
nutrient management people.
Lisa Purnell introduced Dr. Tom Handwerker of the University of Maryland.
Dr. Handwerker - We are focusing on small farmers, subsoil trials and
Lisa mentioned that Dr. Handwerker has done significant work on urban high
Meeting adjourned at 11:25.