Cover crops can have various benefits such as scavenging nutrients, adding organic matter or nitrogen to the soil, reducing compaction, or competing with weeds. University of Maryland Extension is now offering a free service to consult with farmers to identify the top needs of their crop fields, and then plan and implement cover crops that will best address those needs. The grant-funded project will provide financial cost-share support for cooperating farmers. This support will complement the support provided by other cost-share programs, such as Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Cover Crop program.
Step 1. Farmer and University of Maryland Extension Ag Agent meet to discuss field conditions and plan cover crops based on specific field needs.
For example, discuss:
• Rotation and timing of cash crops
• Soil and fertility needs
• Pest pressures
Step 2. Farmer plants planned cover crops on fields.
Step 3. University of Maryland Extension will assess the success of the cover crops in meeting the field needs. In addition, soil health benchmark testing will be provided free to the farmer (https://futureharvest.org/resources/resources-for-farmers/soil-health/).
• Farm located in Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, or Worcester county.
• Fields should be 10-50 acres, with up to 3 fields per farm (max 150 acres per farm).
• Grain crop should be in the crop rotation.
Payment details: Participating farmers will get payment of $45-$75/Acre from MDA program, different rates determined by species and planting and termination dates.
Participating farmers will get additional $30/Acre from our grant project for being part of our research efforts and trying out innovative cover cropping approaches. To learn more or sign-up, contact Sarah Hirsh (410) 651-1350 | email@example.com.