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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

MD Agricultural Highlights: June 2017

State Soil Conservation Committee Meeting Set For June 15 The State Soil Conservation Committee has announced that its next meeting will be held Thursday, June 15,at 9:30 a.m. at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis. The meeting is open to the public and will focus on soil conservation and water quality program implementation and policy development. Established in 1938, the State Soil Conservation Committee coordinates the activities of Maryland's 24 soil conservation districts, while advising the Secretary of Agriculture on matters relating to soil and water conservation. For more information, contact Louise Lawrence, Executive Secretary, 410-841-5863.

Cover Crop Info in the Mail Farmers who want to plant cover crops this fall to protect water quality, control erosion, and improve soil health, should check their mailboxes for important information regarding the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s 2017-18 Cover Crop Sign-Up. Approximately $22.5 million in conservation grants is available to help farmers offset the cost of planting cover crops on their fields this fall. Signup runs from June 21 through July 17 at local soil conservation districts. For more information, call 410-841-5864 or visit the department’s website.

Nutrient Management Certification Class for Nursery/Greenhouse Operators Set for June 28 The Maryland Department of Agriculture and University of Maryland Extension will offer a two-day training and certification program beginning June 28 for nursery and greenhouse operators who want to become certified by the department to write and update their own nutrient management plans. For an application, visit the department’s website.

New Backyard Actions Brochures Available The Maryland Department of Agriculture and University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center have added two new publications to their popular gardening series, Backyard Actions for a Cleaner Chesapeake Bay. The first publication focuses on the benefits of planting cover crops in the garden to control erosion, reduce nutrient runoff, and improve soil health. The second publication provides tips on planting a pollinator garden to supply food, shelter and water for adult insects and their offspring. Visit the department website for information on Planting Cover Crops and Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden. Call 410-841-5863 for printed copies of the brochures.

Recertification Seminars Offered for Lawn Care Professionals The Maryland Department of Agriculture will offer two recertification seminars for lawn care professionals who are required to undergo two hours of continuing education each year in order to renew their Professional Fertilizer Applicator certificates. There is no cost for the recertification class, however, advance registration is required and seating is limited. A two-hour training/recertification seminar is scheduled for June 21 in Wheaton. Applicants should register as soon as possible for this recertification seminar. In addition, a recertification webinar is scheduled for June 27. Advance registration required and participants will need a computer with internet access. Register on the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s website at

MDA Reminds Homeowners to Fertilize Lawns Responsibly With the hot weather kicking in, the Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds homeowners that fertilizer should only be applied to lawns when the grass is actively growing. To prevent runoff, fertilize warm season grasses (Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass) in late spring or early summer and cool season grasses (fescues, bluegrass) in fall. Some grass species have natural dormancy periods and will turn brown during the hot, dry summer months. Applying fertilizer to force a lawn to turn green during its dormancy period can damage the grass and result in unused fertilizer washing off lawns and into the streams and rivers that feed the Chesapeake Bay. For tips on fertilizing responsibly and Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law, visit

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