April 2017

Conservation Client Gateway Available to More Producers than Ever

Conservation Client Gateway, the secure online web application for landowners and land managers, is now available to business entities in addition to individual landowners. So, if your family-owned farming operation is an LLC or another business entity consistent with USDA’s entity categories, you can now access the Conservation Client Gateway. Earlier versions limited access to individual landowners. Conservation Client Gateway gives landowners and land managers the ability to track their payments, report completed practices, request conservation assistance, and electronically sign documents online anytime, anywhere. Click here to learn more.

Managing Water Webinar Series

The Irrigation Association is bringing back a popular webinar series where participants hear from industry experts on issues affecting irrigated agriculture and the benefits of water management. Click here to register for these free webinars:

Webinar schedule is as follows: 
June 8 - “Agricultural Irrigation in the Mississippi River Basin”; 
June 20 - “WaterSense & SWAT – What’s the Difference?”; 
June 29 - “Telling a Positive Story about Irrigated Agriculture”; 
July 13 - “Water Infrastructure in America – Challenges & Opportunities for Irrigated Agriculture”.

Need Photos of Conservation Practices?

USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has accumulated over 1,500 images of cover crops and soil health. You are free to download and disseminate these photos as part of your district’s educational outreach efforts. In addition to SARE’s Cover Crop Image Library, the program also offers educators and producers free, ready-made PowerPoint presentations on cover crop topics and soil health illustrations. You can check them all out here. And for resources on cover crops from SARE, click here.

March 2017

Voluntary Conservation Grassroots Advocacy

The National Association of Conservation Districts has created a new Grassroots Advocacy webpage stocked with information and templates to help you contact Congress and advocate for issues important to conservation districts. Right now, it is critical Congress hears directly from you why Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) funding is crucial to this country’s conservation delivery system. If CTA were to be eliminated or severely reduced, it would drastically hinder efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. For more, click details.

Healthy Soils are Full of Life! Materials

NACD is now taking printing requests for Healthy Soils are Full of Life! materials. The stewardship and education materials are now eligible for print-on-demand services from Goetz printing. For more, click healthy soils.

February 2017

MASCD Hosts Legislative Luncheon

The Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts (MASCD) hosted their annual legislative luncheon in conjunction with their winter meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2017. Representatives from all of the 24 soil conservation districts in Maryland were joined by over 60 legislators at this event. Soil conservation districts took this opportunity to highlight the importance of state support for the districts and the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost Share Program. Legislators from all over the state expressed their understanding of the importance of the technical assistance that the districts provide to farmers, landowners, and the urban community. Full story.

Chesapeake Bay District Partners to Accelerate Conservation Adoption

 In an effort to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, the Harford Soil Conservation District (HSCD) has worked within its community to help meet the 2017 EPA mandated pollution reduction requirements. Recognizing the need to go beyond traditional boundaries to address soil and water conservation, the HSCD and Ecotone, Inc. (Ecotone) have developed a unique public-private partnership to become a driving force in helping achieve Maryland’s pollutant reduction goals. 

This partnership with Ecotone, enacted through a Memorandum of Agreement, has allowed the HSCD to effortlessly explore new funding sources and cost-effectively execute agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) throughout Harford County. “Ecotone’s assistance with grant funding preparation and environmental [BMPs] design & construction has accelerated the restoration efforts to local tributaries leading to the Chesapeake Bay.” says Bill Tharpe, District Manager. Full story.

December 2016

Leader of US Grains Council Demos Conservation Practices

Chip Councell, a 10th generation farmer from Talbot County, Maryland, and chairman of the U.S. Grains Council, hosted representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture at his farm last week to demonstrate the value of soil health practices, crop rotation, nutrient management, voluntary conservation programs, and precision agriculture.

Councell, who was named the 2010 cooperator of the year by the Talbot Soil Conservation District, says his success “takes every piece of the puzzle - the conservation plans, the equipment, the biotechnology all put together in the best way to fit the operation."

Excerpt from NACD eResource.

2017 Soil Planners Now Available

The new 2017 Soils Planner titled “Soils Have Memory” is now available online at the NRCS Soils website. To view, click here.

You will also find all Soils Planners published since 1999, providing a valuable educational resource. Past Soils Planners have covered a wide range of topics including: soil biology, State soils, hydric soils, Lewis and Clark Bicentennial (Soil Paintings), International Year of Soils, and many others.

September 2016

Farmers Care About the Bay, Too!

Three of Delmarva’s own national leaders, Lee McDaniel, Chip Bowling and Richard Wilkins, collaborated to share the importance of voluntary conservation in the Chesapeake Bay region through a commentary in the Baltimore Sun. The three boasted that, “the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America, is home to more than 83,000 farms that together generate $10 billion in economic activity each year. For decades, these producers have stepped up all across the watershed, assumed responsibility for their share of the nutrient and sediment pollution in the bay, and worked tirelessly toward unprecedented, remarkable change. Just in the past seven years, the agriculture sector has single-handedly reduced its phosphorus and sediment runoff in the watershed by 50 and 75 percent respectively.” For more, read full story.

MASCD Awarded RCPP Grant

MASCD President Charles Rice joined NRCS Chief Jason Weller, Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder, Robert Emerson, Delaware Association of Conservation Districts and our grant partners on Friday, February, 12th for the announcement that MASCD has been awarded a 4.5 million RCCP grant. RCPP draws on local knowledge and networks to fuel conservation projects. Meeting WIP Goals in the Chesapeake Bay brings together 15 partners to accelerate the installation of conservation practices to enable Maryland and Delaware farmers to meet the nutrient and sediment water quality goals set forth in the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Partners offered an additional $5.4 million in matching funds, bringing the total value of the project to more than $10 million. more

Pictured: Kasey Taylor, DE NRCS State Conservationist; Lindsay Thompson, MASCD; Charles Rice, MASCD; Jason Weller, Chief, NRCS, Joe Bartenfelder, Secretary MDA; Dr. Terron Hillsman, MD NRCS State Conservationist; Robert Emerson, DACD; Hans Schmidt, Assistant Secretary MDA; Jim Eichhorst, Assistant Secretary MDA. 

Maryland Farm and Harvest Episode 112 Explains Bioreactor Working to Filter Nutrient Runoff.

Partnership Press

Annual Reports

2016 Annual Report Released

MASCD released its 2016 Annual Report.  Soil conservation districts and MD farmers can be proud of their conservation accomplishments.

2015 2012 2009
2014 2011 2008
2013 2010 2007

Bay Model Results

The results of the 2013 Bay Model progress run have been released. Agriculture is well on its way to reaching the 2017 TMDL reduction goals for the 2017 progress report and has already achieved the 2017 goal for sediment reduction. Click here for results.

MCC lgog

MASCD Envirothon is a participant in the Maryland Charity Campaign, which allows Maryland state employees and retirees to give to over 700 participating charitable organizations. To help support Maryland high school students strive to learn more about our natural world and compete at county, state, and national levels, click the Maryland Charity Campaign link and enter code 6483, or enter Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Inc.  For more Envirothon information, pictures, and past winners, click here.  Thank you for your support!