The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced that over 20 high-priority agricultural conservation practices are now eligible for cost-share funding of up to 100% through the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program. Installation of these practices by farmers will help Maryland meet its 2025 Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals.
“Clean water and healthy natural resources benefit all Marylanders,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “The department is committed to providing farmers with the financial and technical resources and support they need to install best management practices on their farms that will improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.”
Earlier this year, Governor Larry Hogan signed a new law that authorizes MDA to provide farmers with cost-share assistance that covers up to 100% of eligible costs to install certain high-priority best management practices on farms.
Qualifying practices must have at least a 10-year maintenance life; provide environmental benefits that are consistent with Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan; and focus largely on in-field or edge-of-field practices that protect local waterways from nutrient runoff associated with crop production. In addition, these practices are required to be implemented as part of a current Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plan developed by a local soil conservation district.
Practices now eligible for up to 100% cost-share funding and free technical assistance include:
- Conservation drainage practices
- Conservation cover
- Critical area planting
- Stream exclusion fencing
- Field border
- Filter strip
- Grade stabilization structure
- Grassed waterway
- Lined waterway or outlet
- Riparian forest buffer
- Riparian herbaceous cover
- Sediment basin
- Terrace system
- Tree and shrub establishment
- Wetland restoration or creation
Interested farmers should contact their local soil conservation district to apply for cost-share funding and to receive free technical assistance to design and install these practices. To be eligible for cost-share assistance, applicants must be in good standing with MDA, the MACS Program and in compliance with Maryland’s nutrient management regulations. Other restrictions may apply.
For more information, please contact MDA’s Conservation Grants Program at (410) 841-5864 or visit the website.