New Funding and Initiatives Announced to Assist Farmers and Industries with Transition
News Release, Maryland Department of Agriculture
ANNAPOLIS, MD —The Maryland Department of Agriculture announced new funding and initiatives for farmers as it moves forward with the implementation of the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT). A proposed one-year delay in implementation was voted down by the PMT Advisory Committee with support from representatives of the agriculture industry and environmental groups.
“The PMT is a critical part of the state’s efforts to enhance and protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and we look forward to continuing that progress without delay,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “We understand the challenges facing the industry as we move forward, and will continue working closely with the PMT Advisory Committee and stakeholder groups to ensure this transition period goes as smoothly as possible.”
“Maryland agriculture is showing real, on-the-ground leadership to help meet our Bay 2025 cleanup goal, and sets an example for others on how to use science, innovation, and partnership to meet environmental commitments,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles.
A study conducted by BEACON at Salisbury University suggested the affected industries may lack the resources needed to move forward with PMT as planned. In response to those concerns, the department today announced a new set of initiatives that will help bring industries up to speed. The plan includes:
- Improvements to the Manure Transport Program including shorter, more flexible applications and claim forms. The program has set up a new manure hotline (410-841-5864) for farmers interested in moving or receiving manure. Governor Hogan’s budget also includes an additional $1 million for the program from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.
- Partnering with Integrators to more accurately track the supply and demand for manure and connect farmers who need to move manure with farmers looking to apply manure.
- Working with the Maryland Environmental Services to identify facilities that can be used as temporary storage areas for manure until it is ready to be moved to a farm or alternative use facility.
- Potential Partnership with the Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company to haul manure out of Maryland to farmers and growers who have expressed interest in using manure as fertilizer.
- Field Science Study to ensure that we are working with the best available science. MDA is working with the University of Maryland on a five-year study on the field science of PMT.
- Continuing to Identify New Alternative Uses for litter through MDA’s Animal Waste Technology Grant program and industry partnerships.
- Finding New Ways to Reduce Phosphorus Levels including a research project with University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science analyzing the use of aragonite on fields.
- Outreach to Farmers encouraging the use of manure as a fertilizer, and publicizing the new and improved Manure Transport Program.