2018 / 2019 Cover Crop Sign-Up
GOING ON NOW UNTIL JULY 17, 2018
The annual sign-up period for Maryland Department of Agriculture’s cover crop program will take place June 21 – July 17 at soil conservation district offices statewide. This popular grant program provides farmers with cost-share assistance to offset seed, labor, and equipment costs to plant cover crops on their fields this fall to control soil erosion, reduce nutrient runoff, build healthy soils, and protect water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Governor Larry Hogan has allocated approximately $22.5 million for Maryland’s 2018-2019 Cover Crop Program.
Contact Levin Schwaninger for more information
2018 Cooperator of the Year - Tamsey Farms
The Talbot Soil Conservation District is pleased to recognize Mr. George Brennan of Tamsey Farms located on Fox Road outside of Easton as our 2018 Cooperator of the Year for his commitment to agriculture and to conserving and protecting the natural resources of Talbot County.
Mr. Brennan started farming full time after a 20 year career in the United States Marine Corp where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While serving in the military Mr. Brennan and his wife Mary purchased their first farm in Talbot County in 1973. With no prior farming experience and after extensive research, they decided to raise polled Herefords. Soon after, a bull and two heifers were purchased thus beginning a new and exciting chapter in their lives.
In 1977 he purchased the adjoining 335 acre farm which provided more pastureland to allow for an expansion of the herd. Following the purchase Mr. Brennan started installing conservation practices on his own and with the help of the Talbot Soil Conservation District. Over the years, these measures included numerous waterways, rock outlets, tile wells and grassed buffers. The grassed buffers range from 20 to 25 ft. in width and were installed around all pasture fields in sensitive erosive areas.
While maintaining and growing the herd, Mr. Brennan was offered to purchase Elliott Hardware & Equipment, the local International tractor dealership. Mr. Brennan assumed ownership in 1981 and jokingly referred to the purchase as a “bad decision”.
The name has since been changed to “Rio Del Mar Enterprises” to evoke memories of a beach in California with the same name where the Brennan’s enjoyed spending their time. “Rio Del Mar” means “River by the Sea” and, contrary to misconceptions, does not have anything to do with the location being near the Delaware Maryland line. The business continues to serve farmers and landowners with various landscape equipment.
In order to accommodate an ever increasing herd size, Mr. Brennan purchased Eaton farm in the early 90’s. At the peak of production there were around 200 total animals over the 3 farms. And, as a MACS cover crop participant, Mr. Brennan was allowed to cut his cover crop grain for feed, rather than to destroy. After more than 40 years of working with the polled Herefords, and with no immediate family in the area to take up the task, Mr. Brennan took his stock to an Illinois auction in early 2016. Over the years he had few dangerous situations, mainly due to the Herefords temperament. Mr. Brennan stated “he misses the cows, but not the work”. The pasture land has since been converted to crop land and is tilled by the Garrett Brothers.
Our most recent project with the Mr. Brennan was the creation of a 6.6 ac wetland restoration through the CREP program. This was an area that had always troubled Mr. Brennan as it was wet and could only be cropped successfully 1 out of 8 years. Including berms and buffers the area protects environmentally sensitive land which has been taken out of production to provide enhanced wildlife habitat.
Although the farm has changed over the years, from cropland to pasture fields and hay land and then back to cropland, Mr. Brennan's commitment to stewardship has not wavered. The wire fencing will stay in place in order to prevent narrowing of the grassed buffers for years to come.
2017 / 2018 Cover Crop Highlights
With the 2017/2018 Cover Crop fall certification in the books, the Talbot Soil Conservation District is pleased to announce that Talbot County farmers planted over 40,742 acres of cover crops. Overall Talbot farmers had a 80% implementation rate of what acres were signed up in the summer. There were a total of 90 farmers that participated in the traditional program.
Cover Crop Over the Years
Soil Conservation has lost a Legend
It is with great regret that the Talbot SCD shares the news of Roy R. Scott (Scotty) passing on May 14, 2018. Scotty was 89 years young. His memorial service was held on June 16, 2018 at the Cambridge Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Scotty worked for the Talbot Soil Conservation District since its inception in 1958 until his retirement in 2011. He worked for the Soil Conservation Service, later changed to the USDA-NRCS for 30 years, and then the Maryland Department of Agriculture for over 25.
Scotty was instrumental in the design of most of the farm ponds in Talbot County as well as grassed waterways, drop structures, lined outlets, etc. He truly left his mark on Talbot County.