The Manure Transport Program will increase the cost-share rate for farmers and manure brokers hauling poultry manure to qualifying farms to $28 per ton.
This new assistance will further support Maryland farmers with making the switch to using poultry manure as a crop fertilizer and help reduce excess phosphorus from entering local waterways.
“The (Maryland Department of Agriculture) is excited to offer additional support to farmers who want to make the switch to using poultry litter as an all-natural fertilizer and soil amendment,” said Ag Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “By moving poultry litter away from farms with high phosphorus levels and applying it to fields in other parts of the state that need it, we can recycle manure, improve our soil health, and help reduce nutrient runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.”
Maryland’s Manure Transport Program plays a role in helping the state meet its Watershed Implementation Plan Phase III goals to restore the health of local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. Reducing phosphorus levels is a major component of the state’s WIP goals.
The Ag Department’s Phosphorus Management Tool was adopted in 2015 to help identify areas where there is a high risk for phosphorus runoff and guide the use of effective management practices in soils that are already saturated. The PMT will be fully implemented on July 1.
To help farmers meet this deadline, the department’s Manure Transport Program connects poultry farms operating under the PMT with nearby farms with low soil phosphorus levels that can safely use the manure as a nutrient source for their crops.
Farmers that would like to expedite manure transportation this spring should consider the program’s FastTrack grant option, which allows them to haul manure now and apply for cost-share reimbursement later. More details about FastTrack grants can be found on ag department’s website at mda.maryland.gov
To participate in the Manure Transport Program, farmers must be in good standing with the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program and in compliance with Maryland’s nutrient management regulations. Other restrictions may apply.
Interested farmers with qualifying fields should visit http://bit.ly/ManureTransport for more information and to apply.