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Farm in Maryland? Get money for conservation

Applications are now open for the Healthy Soils Competitive Fund.

January 11, 2024

2 Min Read
Rye cover crop growing over corn stubble
MONEY FOR CONSERVATION: The Maryland Department of Agriculture is accepting grant applications for its Healthy Soils Competitive Fund, which provides financial assistance to eligible farmers and organizations to adopt conservation practices, including cover cropping. Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is now accepting grant applications for its Healthy Soils Competitive Fund.

This program provides financial assistance to eligible farmers and organizations to adopt conservation practices that benefit the climate, soil and water. Regardless of farm size, Maryland farmers and organizations with innovative conservation ideas are encouraged to apply for these grants. Successful applicants will receive up to $50,000 to support three years of enhanced soil health practices. 

“This program funds innovative soil health and agroforestry practices that benefit cropland, improve water quality and capture carbon from the atmosphere,” says Kevin Atticks, Maryland secretary of agriculture. “It’s a win-win for our farms, our Chesapeake Bay and our climate goals. I urge Maryland farmers with operations of all sizes to apply for these grants.”

Funds are available to farmers or organizations that want to manage the following practices in innovative ways: 

  • cover crops

  • conservation tillage

  • pasture and hay planting

  • conservation cover 

  • critical area planting

  • conservation crop rotation

  • nutrient management

  • Integrated Pest Management 

  • soil carbon amendment

Additionally, the following agroforestry practices are available for funding:

  • alley cropping

  • hedgerow planting

  • windbreak or shelterbelt establishment

  • silvopasture

  • tree and shrub establishment

There are no minimum or maximum acreage requirements. Grant recipients will receive a portion of the funds (not to exceed 40%) upfront, with the remainder distributed annually upon verification of progress. The allowable upfront payment will be dependent on the proposed scope of work. 

Grants provided by the Healthy Soils Competitive Fund may be used to support the implementation of conservation practices, purchase equipment that supports the adoption of soil health practices, and cover research and administrative costs for organizations that provide technical support to producers. 

Developed with input from Maryland’s Soil Health Advisory Committee, the program is funded by the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, and the Moore-Miller administration. Grant applications are available on the Maryland Department of Agriculture website.

Applications are due March 6. Grant recipients will be notified by April 30. 

For more information, contact Nick Miller at [email protected] or call 410-980-2350. 

Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture

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