MDA Conservation Grants for Grazing Systems
Future Harvest CASA and the Maryland Grazers' Network of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, successfully advocated for new Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) grants available to farmers establishing pasture for intensive grazing systems. “We are very excited to offer this new conservation tool to farmers,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “Maryland farmers are proactive when it comes to using alternative management practices that have been shown to improve water quality. From both an environmental and an economic standpoint, management intensive grazing makes sense for many operations. I would like to recognize the efforts of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in establishing the Grazers Network to promote management intensive grazing.”
We applaud Secretary Hance's decision to include establishment of pasture and grazing infrastructure as a best management practice for natural resource conservation, eligible for agricultural cost share funding from the state. Future Harvest CASA and the Maryland Grazers' Network are proud to have played a key role in providing legislators with information about the increase in farmers interested in grazing and the positive long-term effects of pasture on resource conservation. "Senator Ronald Young and Delegate Dana Stein were instrumental in sponsoring legislation that helped bring attention to this issue and ultimately resulted in the creation of another important resource for advancing sustainable agriculture in Maryland," said Joan Norman, former Future Harvest CASA President.
"I'm very happy that a compromise was negotiated with the Department of Agriculture," said Senator Young. "Grazing not only helps in providing organic milk, but also assists in addressing storm water runoff in very environmental way."
"I want to thank CASA, the Maryland Grazers' Network, and Secretary Hance for working out an agreement that will provide farmers with support for a best management practice that is an important tool in our fight against Chesapeake Bay pollution," said Delegate Stein.
Farmers interested in cost share funding for pasture establishment and grazing infrastructure may contact Rob Schnabel of the Maryland Grazers' Network at firstname.lastname@example.org or (443) 482-2175.