Farmers Urged to Sign Up for CREP Buffer Program by September 30
Farmers who are seeking ways to comply with Marylands new fertilizer setback requirements are encouraged to visit their local USDA Farm Service Agency by September 30, 2013 to guarantee funding for streamside buffers planted through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Beginning January 1, 2014, Maryland farmers will be required to establish setback areas next to waterways to further protect against nutrient losses from farm fields. CREP provides land rental income to farmers who plant 35-foot buffers of grasses or trees next to qualifying streams or ditches. Financial assistance is available to plant and maintain the buffers through the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program. CREP buffers meet all Maryland setback requirements. For more information, farmers should contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency or visit http://http://www.mda.maryland.gov and type CREP in the search engine.
Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certification Exam and Training Offered
Lawn care professionals who want to become certified by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to apply fertilizer to turf may register for one of the following certification classes: August 16, 2013 in Annapolis; August 22 and September 11, 2013 in Montgomery County; and September 18, 2013 in Talbot County. Optional training sessions are offered before the exam. Beginning October 1, lawn care professionals hired to apply fertilizers to turfgrass must be certified by MDAs Nutrient Management Program or work under the direct supervision of an individual who is certified. The requirement is a major component of Marylands new Lawn Fertilizer Law. To register for MDAs Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certification Exam, visit http://www.mda.maryland.gov/fertilizer or call MDA at 410.841.5959.
Homeowners Urged to Use Responsible Lawn Care Practices during Summer Months
With summer in full swing, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) urges homeowners to allow established lawns to go dormant during the hot dry weather. Applying fertilizer to force a lawn to turn green during its dormancy period can damage the grass and contribute to nutrient pollution in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Dormant lawns will green up when cooler temperatures arrive and rainfall increases. To help shade grass and conserve moisture, raise the mowers cutting height by 1/2 to 1 inch during periods of hot dry weather and leave grass clippings on the lawn as a source of free fertilizer. For more tips and information on Marylands new Lawn Fertilizer Law, call the University of Marylands Home and Garden Information Center at 1.800.342.2507 or visit http://www.mda.maryland.gov/fertilizer.
Practical Experiences in Nutrient Management Workshop Set for September 12, 2013
The Maryland Department of Agriculture and University of Maryland Extension will offer a one day course titled Practical Experiences in Nutrient Management on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at the University of Marylands Western Maryland Research and Education Center in Keedysville. Topics include plan writing for perennial fruit operations, calibrating manure spreaders, soil nitrate testing, the new Phosphorus Management Tool, yield checks for corn grail and silage and features of NuMan Pro 4.0. The fee is $20 per person and covers learning materials, morning break and lunch. Participants receive six credit hours toward the Maryland Nutrient Management Programs continuing education requirement. Register by September 6 by calling 410.841.5959 or visiting http://www.mda.maryland.gov. Scroll down the Quick Links to Nutrient Management and click on Nutrient Management Training Classes for a registration form.
Nutrient Management Plan Writing Workshops Offered September 20 and 24, 2013
The Maryland Department of Agriculture and University of Maryland Extension will offer two, one-day workshops titled, How to Write a Nutrient Management Plan on Friday September 20, 2013 at the Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown and Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at the Montgomery County Extension Office in Derwood. The workshops are designed for people who are new to the nutrient management plan-writing process. Participants will learn how write a nutrient management plan using NuMan Pro, the nutrient management planning software program while earning six credit hours toward the Maryland Nutrient Management Programs continuing education requirement. To register, call 410.841.5959 or visit http://www.mda.maryland.gov. Scroll down the Quick Links to Nutrient Management and click on Nutrient Management Training Classes for a registration form.