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News Release

NRCS and MDA Looking to Help Mid-Shore Farmers Improve Soil Health

Assistance Available for Projects in Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties

Annapolis, Md., February 7, 2019 — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently accepting applications from Maryland farmers in four mid-shore counties for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – Taking Soil Health to the Next Level, sponsored by the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Other partners include local Soil Conservation Districts, the University of Maryland, and UMD’s Harry R. Hughes Agro-Ecology Center.

The Taking Soil Health RCPP seeks to provide financial and technical assistance to help farmers implement innovative practices and technologies for building healthy soils on their farms. Many mid-shore farmers have long used no-till and have adopted winter cover cropping into their management systems. By expanding their soil health management systems, farmers can increase their soil’s organic matter and improve microbial activity. As a result, farmers can sequester more carbon, increase water infiltration, and improve nutrient use efficiency—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields.

This special Taking Soil Health RCPP funding is available to eligible Maryland farmers in Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties. Farmers have until March 15 to submit applications to their local NRCS office. Local offices can be found by visiting www.farmers.gov/service-locator or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Conservation practices eligible for financial and technical assistance include the following:

  • Adaptive nutrient management (a process used to evaluate and adjust nutrient application and utilization strategies over multiple seasons);
  • Multi-species cover crops;
  • Conservation crop rotations;
  • Variable rate technology for applying nutrients;
  • Residual and tillage management;
  • Precision farming;
  • Edge-of-field tools to identify and reduce agricultural sources of excess nutrients;
  • Composting;
  • Forage and biomass plantings;
  • And other practices that support and enhance soil health.

Since its inception in 1935, NRCS has worked in partnership with private landowners and a variety of local, state and federal conservation partners to deliver conservation based on specific, local needs. Please visit www.md.nrcs.usda.gov for more information about NRCS.