Maryland Agricultural Highlights — February 2021

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Conservation Buffer Sign-up Ends February 5

Sign-up for the Maryland Department of Agriculture's (MDA's) Conservation Buffer Initiative ends February 5. Farmers are encouraged to take advantage of this special opportunity to apply for attractive grants to plant streamside buffers on farms to improve water quality. The program offers many unique features including a buffer option for field ditches, flexible site management, and shorter contract terms. Applications are available on the website.

Nutrient Management Reports Due by March 1

MDA reminds farmers that March 1 is the deadline to submit their Annual Implementation Reports summarizing nutrient applications made during calendar year 2020. This year, farmers have the option to submit their reports online through the Maryland One-Stop portal. For farmers who want to continue to submit paper reports, a mail-in option is still available. For more information, visit the department's website or call (410) 841-5959.

Online Recertification Seminars Offered for Lawn Care Professionals

MDA will offer recertification seminars for Professional Fertilizer Applicators on the following dates: Feb. 23, March 23, and May 10, 2021. Each session satisfies the department's two-hour continuing education requirement needed for certification renewal. The training will be offered via Zoom. Visit the department's website to register.

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Online Fertilizer Calculator Now Available

MDA's Turfgrass Nutrient Management Program has posted a new fertilizer calculator on its website to help applicators determine the correct amount and rate of fertilizer to apply to lawns that they manage. The calculator requires Microsoft Excel and can be downloaded for desktop use.

Nutrient Management Certification Exam Scheduled for February 9

The Maryland Nutrient Management Certification Exam will be offered Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 from 9–11 a.m. at MDA's headquarters in Annapolis. Individuals who provide nutrient recommendations, nursery personnel, and farmers interested in developing nutrient management plans for other farmers are encouraged to take the exam. The cost is $50 and can be paid at the door. Government employees and farmers who have previously taken the exam are exempt from the certification fee. Applicants must complete a registration form to sit for the exam. Forms can be downloaded on MDA's website.

Final Round of Crop Production Meetings ​Offered

Farmers who want the latest research and data to guide their 2021 growing decisions still have time to sign up for the last round of winter crop production meetings sponsored by the University of Maryland Extension (UME). Meetings focusing on agronomy and fruit production growers will be offered in February. All meetings will be held online and qualify for nutrient management voucher credits along with pesticide applicator and certified crop advisor credits. Visit UME's website for meeting dates and registration information.

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"Rooted in Agriculture" Virtual Event Set for March 20

The Farmers & Community Partnership of Harford County is sponsoring a free virtual event called "Rooted in Agriculture" on Saturday, March 20, 2021 from 9 a.m.–noon. Join farmer and former talk show host Steve Rouse and Maryland Public Television's Sarah Sampson for presentations on sustainable agriculture, hydroponics, and community gardening trends. Soil and cooking demos, kids activities, and a farmer question and answer will also be offered. Major event sponsors include the Harford Soil Conservation District, Harford County Government, Harford Community College, and the Harford County Farm Bureau. Visit Harford County's website to register for the event.

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The Maryland Agricultural Awareness Alliance is a coalition of federal, state and local agricultural agencies and commodity groups dedicated to educating Marylanders on agricultural issues.stats

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