Soil Conservation Districts Free Advice from Top Professionals! and heart-ache in the long run.

issues. “Tere are also a lot of horse owners that are seeing standing water show up in areas where there never has been any,” she said. She said some farms are even seeing new flowing streams pop up. Harne added, “a lot of horse farm owners

are concerned about the compression from the horses’ hooves damaging the soil in their pastures. Te more compression, the harder it is for the soil to recover.” He said that he often recommends dry lots and sacrifice fields to help with this issue. Te most important advice Zawitoski has for

Paying for Projects Once a farm owner has these conservation

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and nutrient management plans, putting them into practice costs money. Farms are eligible to apply for several cost sharing programs at the county, state and fed- eral level. Each grant program has a different set of eligibility require- ments and SCD staff

any farm owner: “Do not move any soil without talking to your district first. You could create long term problems you hadn’t even realized.” Zawitoski recommends having SCD come out before you start moving dirt. “We can help you apply for permits if needed and if not needed, we become your insurance policy if other de- partments come after you.” In fact, farm owners can have SCD staff come

and help plan out new buildings, fence changes and more to help identify potential erosion and drainage issues before construction even begins. Tis can help farm owners save money

can help farmers navigate the process and pro- grams. Zawitoski recommends applying at least one year ahead of time for planning purposes. According to Maryland’s SCD archives, in

2000 alone, cost-share funds were used to in- stall more than 2,200 best management practic- es projects on farms that then prevented some 28,000 tons of soil and 1,200 tons of manure from impacting Maryland’s waterways. Tese projects used more than $8 million in grant funds from the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program and represented an investment of approximately $546,000 by Maryland farmers. Farm owners are encouraged to compare contractors, and carefully examine all bids. A

knowledgeable contractor who can stay within budget is a vital, as once funds are granted, there may not be more funds available if the project exceeds the estimate. Grants often have post-project requirements that farm owners need to be aware of as well. A brief synopsis of some of these programs can be found in this issue in the “Funds for Farms” article. For a full list of Conservation Grants for Maryland farms, go to resource_conservation/ Pages/financial_assistance. aspx or scan the QR code here.

Education & Other SCD Programs Part of the mission of various Soil Conserva-

tion Districts around the U.S. is the education of farm owners about the importance of con- servation for long-term health of their farms. “Farmers really do have a vested interest in conserving their lands,” Zawitoski pointed out. SCD has several programs to help farmers stay on top of the latest in conservation science for both the first time farmer, as well as the multi- generational legacy farm owner. Each SCD office holds educational programs



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