Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program

Reduce erosion and reduce pollution from animal wastes so as to improve water quality through the installation of best management practices (BMP's).

  • Landowner/producer makes a request at the Talbot Soil Conservation District office, 28577 Mary’s Court, Suite 3, Easton, MD 21601, for each soil conservation and water quality measure prior to the time the improvement is to be made.
  • Cost-sharing grants are 65% - 87.5% of the flat rate average cost in effect at this time the farmer submits the bills and claim for payment to the Talbot Soil Conservation District.
  • Flat rates are updated on an as needed basis.
  • For Animal Waste Storage Systems:
    1. Up to 87.5% of the approved construction costs for eligible BMP’s.
    2. Up to $100,000 per farm, with a maximum of $150,000 per farm, when combined with other BMP’s.
  • For all other BMP’s:
    1. Up to 87.5% of the approved construction costs for eligible BMP’s.
    2. Up to $35,000 per project, with a maximum of $75,000 per farm.
  • Cost-share grants may vary according to location of planned project and severity of the problem.
  • There is a $200 minimum cost-share grant payment.
  • Sign-up for this program is on a continuous basis.

Contact:
Shawn Smith, Levin Schwaninger, Steve Spielman


 

Cover Crop Program

 A field of forage radish planted in the MACS Cover Crop Program.

A field of forage radish planted in the MACS Cover Crop Program.

Winter cover crops are planted to help control erosion, reduce nutrient runoff and protect water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. This is an annual program; sign-up is usually in June or July. Program requirements and payment structure is always posted on the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s website, mda.maryland.gov.

  • Receive up to $100/acre to plant traditional cover crops ($45/acre base payment and up to $55/acre in add-on planting incentives)
  • Receive $25/acre to plant cover crops for harvest; $35/acre if rye is used as the cover crop
  • No acreage caps
  • Farmers select which acres to harvest in spring
  • Use one application to apply for both traditional and harvested cover crop programs

Traditional cover crops may not be harvested, but may be grazed or chopped for on-farm livestock forage after becoming well established. Kill-down/suppression may take place any time after March 1, but no later than June 1. Traditional cover crops qualify for add-on incentive payments if certain environmental guidelines are met.

  • Base Payment: $45/acre with add-on incentives for using highly valued planting practices
  • Acreage Cap: None
  • Manure Use: Yes, under special circumstances
  • Certification with SCD: Within one week of planting
  • Kill down/Suppression: Between March 1 and June 1

Commodity cover crop program option is available to farmers who want to harvest their cover crops. Farmers should provide their best estimate of acres they plan to harvest on their applications.

  • Payment: $0/acre (Plus a $0/acre bonus if rye is planted as the cover crop)
  • Acreage Cap: None
  • Fertilizer Application: After March 1
  • Certification with SCD: Within one week of planting

Contact:
Levin Schwaninger


 

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

 Restored wetland funded through the CREP program

Restored wetland funded through the CREP program

Purpose:
CREP is a Maryland specific enhancement of the USDA CRP program. CREP operates similar to the CRP, offering enrollee’s payment for taking certain highly erodible land, cropland, and pasture lands (in riparian areas) out of agricultural production and establishing conservation buffers of grass or trees.

  • Sign-up for this program is on a continuous basis.
  • CREP will pay enrollees a variable incentive rate that is above and beyond the soil rental rate for the offered site. The incentive will be 100% for the planting of riparian forest buffers and 80% for retiring highly erodible land, and cropland buffers and restoring wetlands.
  • Cost-Share for grass, trees and other BMP’s can be up to 100% of the eligible costs not to exceed the established average cost of installation.
  • Participants receive:
    1. Federal sign-up bonus
    2. 40% practice incentive bonus
    3. State sign-up bonus - $100/ac.

Contact:
Steve Spielman


 

Manure Transport Program

Contact: 
Shawn Smith


 

Manure Injection Program

Contact:
Shawn Smith