World’s Largest Urban Farm Coming to Howard

Infarm, the rapidly growing global urban farming company, announced the establishment of its third Growing Center in the US, and the world's largest urban farm, will be house in Howard County. The new Growing Center in Maryland will produce up to 45 million crops per year, creating more than 50 jobs in Howard County. More than 50% of the new Growing Center is already pre-ordered with the first harvest planned for Spring 2023. The remaining…

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Cover Crop Grant Program: New Payment Rates, Options

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced that mail-in enrollment for this year’s Cover Crop Program runs from July 1-18, 2022. Cover crops are essential to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and the productivity of Maryland’s farmland, providing a protective cover against erosion and nutrient runoff while building the soil’s organic matter for next year’s crop. The Cover Crop Grant is conservation program giving farmers with cost-share grants to help pay for seed, labor, and…

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Congress Urged by NACo to Include County Priorities in America COMPETES Act

A bipartisan group of over 80 county elected officials from NACo sent a letter to Congressional leaders and other federal lawmakers urging the inclusion of key county provisions in the America COMPETES Act of 2022. The United States Innovation and Competition Act, knows as the America COMPETES Act, "addresses U.S. technology and communications, foreign relations and national security, domestic manufacturing, education, trade, and other matters" (congress.gov). The Conference Committee, which is comprised of members from the U.S.…

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Fun Fact: Maryland’s Official Beverage Is Really Milking It

Did you know that Maryland's official state beverage is milk? It's true! June is National Dairy Month, and World Milk Day was celebrated on June 1. Maryland's counties boast a plethora of dairy farms, most of which have been in operation for generations. You can check out a dairy farm near you or plan a trip to visit one on this Maryland's Best interactive map. Several dairies are a part of the Maryland ice cream…

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Baltimore City Boosts Fight Against Food Insecurity by $26 Million

Baltimore City is boosting its fight against food insecurity driven by the COVID-19 pandemic with an additional $11 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, bringing the City's total ARPA commitment to $26 million. During the pandemic, food insecurity rates across the City increased from 18% to 21.7%, with 33% of children being food insecure. Similarly, SNAP participation skyrocketed, rising from 25% of Baltimore City residents to over 33% (approximately 200,000 people). Baltimore City Mayor…

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What’s in the FY 23 Capital Budget?

The fiscal year 2023 capital budget is now law, authorizing nearly $4 billion in capital projects. Here's what it means for counties. Earlier this week, Governor Larry Hogan signed the FY 23 capital budget into law. It will fund a diverse variety of projects around the state, including those dealing with construction, the environment, affordable housing, and even neighborhood revitalization. More than a quarter of the $4 billion capital budget will be used for convenbtional infrastructure projects…

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Maryland Dept. of Agriculture Opens Conservation Grants

Maryland's Soil Conservation Districts are now accepting grant applications. The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will be the raising of cost-share funding caps for 34 qualifying conservative-minded best management practices (BMPs). Effective May 2, 2022, the cost-share ceiling for these BMPs increased to $75,000 per project. This applies to all eligible BMP components, which are based on approved flat rates. According to the press release: “Our state has a strong agricultural cost-share program that supports…

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USDA Offering $5M in Grants for SNAP Modernization

Last week, the USDA began accepting applications for grants aimed at SNAP Modernization.  Last week the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) began accepting applications for the the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Process and Technology Improvement Grant (PTIG) Program. The SNAP Process and Technology Improvement Grants are awarded through a competitive application process. The multi-year grants seek to improve the experience of SNAP participants by enabling grantees to update inefficient or ineffective processes or use…

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EPA Threatens to Crack Down on Northern Neighbor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently signaled they are to step up enforcement efforts to control Pennsylvania's water pollution.  Long-term advocates for a cleaner Chesapeake Bay may find reason to rejoice as the EPA puts Pennsylvania on notice for water pollution. After the EPA reviewed Pennsylvania’s updated plan to address pollution reduction goals for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it found that the plan falls short of those goals largely due to the lack of resources…

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Baltimore County Partners with State to Reduce Midge Pollution

Baltimore County recently announced a joint effort with the Maryland Department of Agriculture to reduce nuisance midge population on the Back River.  https://twitter.com/BaltCoGov/status/1516055107439374348 Baltimore County officials will soon be undertaking a joint effort with the Maryland Department of Agriculture to reduce the nuisance midge population on Back River. From early April through the fall of 2022, the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (DEPS) will conduct aerial midge suppression treatments on a 1200-acre…

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