Mid-Shore Soil Conservation Districts are taking applications for assistance
ANNAPOLIS — Soil conservation districts in Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties are now accepting applications from farmers seeking funding and technical assistance to implement conservation practices on their farms that enhance soil health, improve air quality, and safeguard water quality. Farmers have until Feb. 15 to apply for funding and technical assistance to establish healthy soil practices.
This funding opportunity is made possible by a federal grant secured earlier this year by the Maryland Department of Agriculture to support the installation of healthy soil practices that allow farmers to gain experience using the latest technological advances. The department was awarded a five year, $1 million Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Conservation practices eligible for funding and technical assistance include the following: Adaptive nutrient management (a process used to evaluate and adjust nutrient application and utilization strategies over multiple seasons); Multi-species cover crops; Conservation crop rotations; Variable rate technology for applying nutrients; Residual and tillage management; Precision farming; Edge-of-field tools to identify and reduce agricultural sources of excess nutrients; Composting; Forage and biomass plantings; and other practices that support and enhance soil health.
These practices increase organic matter in soil, reduce soil erosion, promote nutrient cycling, improve water retention, and reduce competition from weeds and pests. In addition to supporting the installation of selected conser vation practices, the department will use the grant to fund a series of farmer-to-farmer education workshops, on-farm field trials, and demonstrations. The first soil health workshop is currently being planned for this winter.
The Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology is partnering on the project and will support these goals.
Farmers in participating counties should contact their soil conservation districts before the Feb. 15 deadline. For more information about Maryland’s healthy soils initiatives, contact the department’s Office of Resource Conservation at 410-841-5865 or visit the website.
Swan Cove Spa and Salon hosted a fundraiser in October to benefit hospice care and grief support services through Compass Regional Hospice. By purchasing raffle tickets, participants were entered to win a service of their choice, including hair and nail services, massages and facials. Swan Cove also raffled off product gift baskets and held a special raffle for a weighted blanket, which is an effective tool for helping children and adults cope with a variety of disorders and provides calming pressure throughout the night. The fundraiser raised $1,216 for Compass Regional Hospice to provide services to the residents of Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties. From left are Kenda Leager, development officer, Compass Regional Hospice; Jordan Tucker, development assistant, Compass Regional Hospice; Beth Hobson, staff member, Swan Cove Spa and Salon; Paul Fisher, owner, Swan Cove Spa and Salon; and Heather Guerieri, executive director, Compass Regional Hospice. For more information about Compass Regional Hospice, contact Kenda Leager at 443-262-4106 or klea[email protected]passregionalhospice.org.
Master Gardeners, from left, Karen Wimsatt, Barbara Graham, Liz Hammond, Deane Horowitz, and Jackie Kelly at the “Ask A Master Gardener” booth at the Kent Island Farmers Market.