State Soil Conservation Committee to Meet May 21

The State Soil Conservation Committee will meet Thursday, May 21 at 9:30 a.m. via conference call. The State Soil Conservation Committee provides guidance to the Maryland Department of Agriculture on issues such as soil conservation and water quality policy. The Committee is made up of members from various state departments and regional representatives. The Committee's upcoming meeting is open to the public and will focus on soil conservation and water quality program implementation and policy…

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Free Agricultural Mediation Webinar

Join the National Agricultural Law Center for a free webinar to learn about the benefits of agricultural mediation and how it could positively impact your business or community. The National Agricultural Law Center is hosting a free webinar entitled "Mediation as a Problem Solving Tool for Farmers and Agribusiness" on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 from 12:00 – 1:00pm. The webinar will explore (1) The range of situations in which mediation has been proven to helpful…

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FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Webinar

The FCC is hosting a webinar discussing funding for rural areas to bridge the digital divide this Wednesday, May 20, from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Several offices within the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) are hosting a webinar for state and local governments on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction. Through the auction the FCC will be awarding $16 billion for broadband deployment to service providers in underserved areas. According to the FCC…

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US Forest Service to Host Webinar on Local Tree Cover Policies

The USDA Forest Service will host a webinar to discuss the importance of local policies in the effort to halt tree cover loss. The Forest Service will host a free webinar Wednesday, May 13, 2020 from 1:00 – 2:15pm entitled Addressing Loss of Tree Cover in Urban Watersheds: The Importance of Local Codes and Policies. Many State and local jurisdictions have recently been updating their forest conservation laws and targets to stymie the loss of…

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Rural Maryland Council Hosting Information Session on FY 21 Grants

The Rural Maryland Council (RMC) will be hosting two virtual information sessions on the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) and the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (RMPIF) for FY2021.  Earlier this week, RMC announced they will begin accepting letters of intent to apply for the grants, and today they announced they will host information sessions to review program guidelines and criteria. During the 2020 legislative session, the General Assembly approved $6,327,575…

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MALPF Extends Ag Preservation Application Deadline

The Maryland Agriculture Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) has extended the deadline for FY21 easement applications. Landowners hoping to receive easements in the FY21 round of awards from MALPF now have until May 15 to turn in their applications. MALPF awards conservation easements to landowner applicants annually. The program uses State and County funds to purchase development rights in perpetuity to quality agricultural land, with the goal of preserving enough farmland to maintain the viability of…

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Maryland Receives USDA Approval to Feed Students During Pandemic

Maryland has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to help feed students during school closures. According to the USDA, Maryland has approximately 431,000 students eligible for free or reduced meals at school. After schools closed down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the State submitted an application to the USDA to provide meal replacement benefits through SNAP. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act…

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MARBIDCO Offering Pandemic Adjustment Loans

MARBIDCO is offering low-cost loans of up to $10,000 for agricultural businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Maryland Agriculture and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation recently announced that it is offering a Pandemic Adjustment Loan available to food and fiber producers and harvesters to help with challenges posed by COVID-19. The loans range from $2,500-$10,000. Applications are being accepted until May 31st or until they run out of funds. From MARBIDCO: The program is targeted to…

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USDA Launches One-Stop-Shop for Federal Rural Assistance Programs

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new online directory designed to be a one-stop-shop for federal assistance programs to rural areas affected by the COVID-19 crisis.  There are a multitude of resources being promoted to aid communities during the COVID-19 crisis. The USDA's new resource is an attempt to organize many of the federal programs available to rural areas. The new resource is sectioned into three categories: Technical Assistance, Financial Assistance, and…

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USDA Supports Rural Communities During COVID-19 Outbreak

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is stepping in to help rural communities suffering from financial hardships due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Actions include a moratorium on evictions for residents that have received a home loan through USDA, waving many different program requirements, and extending certain deadlines. From the press release: USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19…

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