$188,865 in Agricultural Cost-Share Grants Approved

April 19, 2013

Grants will help farmers implement conservation practices to protect the environment.

Governor Martin O’Malley announced this week that the Board of Public Works approved $188,865 in agricultural cost-share grants in seven counties for 20 projects that will prevent soil erosion, manage nutrients and safeguard water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Together, these projects will prevent 712.07 pounds of nitrogen, 274.69 pounds of phosphorus, and 954.5 tons of soil from entering the Bay and its tributaries. These projects are funded by state general obligation bonds and are not part of MDA’s general fund budget allocation. The Board is comprised of Governor O’Malley, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

“Our farmers are true partners in protecting our natural resources and Maryland continues to support their efforts by providing conservation grants to install proven conservation measures and innovative, state-of-the-art practices,” said Governor O’Malley. “Working together, we can ensure a smart, green and growing future for future generations, preserve open space, and maintain the rich agricultural heritage of our State.”

For the past 28 years, the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program has been providing farmers with grants to cover up to 87.5 percent of the cost to install conservation measures known as best management practices (BMPs) on their farms to prevent soil erosion, manage nutrients and safeguard water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

Since the program started in 1984, farmers have installed 21,900 water quality projects or about two BMPs per day, every day for 28 years. The average lifespan of a BMP is 10 to 15 years. Over the last 15 years, farmers spent $15.8 million of their own money to match $72.8 million in state cost share to install more than 10,800 water quality projects (not including annual practices like planting cover crops). Installation of agricultural BMPs on farmland is a key feature of Maryland’s recent plan submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce nutrients.

Grassed waterways constructed to prevent gully erosion in farm fields, streamside buffers of grasses and trees planted to filter sediment and farm runoff, and animal waste management systems constructed to help farmers safely handle and store manure resources are among more than 30 BMPs currently eligible for MACS grants.

For a summary of Maryland Agricultural Cost Share Program Grants by County, April 17, 2013, visit: www.mda.maryland.gov/Documents/04-17-2013_macs_bpw.pdf


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