Funds for Farms Trough the Maryland Department of Ag-

riculture, several conservation grants and loans are available to help farmers offset the cost of installing best man- agement practices to protect natural re- sources and comply with federal,


and local environ- mental requirements. Each grant program has a separate set of eligibility require- ments,

which can

be found on MDA’s page under “Con- servation Grants.” Some popular grants include....

Building a covered manure pit is an example of a farm project that could be funded through MDA’s Conservation Grants programs.

Water Quality Te Maryland Agricultural Water Quality

Cost-Share (MACS) Program provides farm- ers with grant funds to cover up to 87.5% of the cost to install conservation measures that prevent soil erosion, manage nutrients and safeguard water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Tere are more than 30 best management practices currently eligible for this cost-share grant including planting grasses along waterways to prevent gully ero- sion, streamside buffers of grasses and trees to filter sediment and systems to safely handle and store manure.

Cover Crops Farmers can receive up to $75/acre to plant

traditional cover crops on their fields each fall to protect the soil. Tis program is part of MACS and can help offset the costs of seed, labor and equipment.

Conservation Reserves Te Conservation Reserve Enhancement Pro- | 800-244-9580

gram (CREP) is set up through a federal-state partnership that pays landowners who agree to take environmentally sensitive cropland out of production for 10-15 years and plant stream- side buffers, establish wetlands, protect highly erodible lands or create wildlife habitat. Te program offers a one-time signing bonus of up to $250 an acre, annual rental and incentive

programs, cost-share assistance for streamside buffers, wetlands and livestock fencing. Spe- cifically for horse farm owners, fencing out streams would fall under CREP.

Manure Keeping nu-

trient byprod- ucts from ma- nure out of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is one of the main focuses of many MDA cost-share grants. Tere are several manure related grant

programs available to farmers. Te Manure Transport Program is designed to help cover the costs of transporting manure off

into fields. Tese grants are available to hire cus- tom operators, rent or lease equipment and offset operating costs associated with manure injection. Te Animal Waste Technology Fund pro- vides incentives to companies that demonstrate new technologies that provide alternative strat- egies for managing manure. Alternative strate- gies may include altering the nutrient content of organic nutrient sources, using manure for energy generation or developing new products that add value to improve the farm’s viability.

Tax Breaks & Loans Te Maryland Income Tax Subtraction Modi-

fications for Conservation Equipment helps off- set the costs associated with buying certain types of conservation equipment that helps control soil erosion, manage nutrients and protect wa- ter quality. Te subtraction modification allows famers to subtract eligible equipment purchases from taxable income on Maryland individual and corporate tax returns. Low Interest Loans for Agricultural

Funds for cover crops can be obtained through the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share program.

farms at up to $18/ton. Te manure is transport- ed to other farms or alternative use facilities that can use manure as a safe resource. Te Manure Match-

ing Service connects farmers with excess animal manure


nearby farmers or alter- native use projects that can use the manure as a valuable resource. Tere are also cost-

share grants available to inject liquid manure

Conservation (LILAC) are available to help install best management practices on farms, purchase conservation equip- ment and adopt new technologies that help protect natural resources and safe- guard water quality. LILAC loans pro- vide up-front funds needed to bridge the cost-share gap that often occurs since grants do not cover 100% of the costs associated with each conservation project. Tese loans are guaranteed by the Maryland Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund and tend to be three to four

percent below market rates.

Funds to fence out streams and plant soil-holding grasses along waterways are both examples of best management practices often funded through MDA Conservation cost-share grants.


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