DENTON - A farmer in Caroline County was awarded $72,168.25 in agricultural cost-share grants on Wednesday to put toward best management practices (BMPs).
The best management practices will work to prevent soil erosion, manage nutrients and safeguard water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.
"Our farmers are true partners in protecting our natural resources and Maryland continues to support their efforts by providing conservation grants to install proven conservation measures and innovative, state-of-the-art practices," Gov. Martin O'Malley said.
The two grants received in Caroline County by Garey B. Brown were part of 32 projects approved by the Maryland Department of Agriculture Board of Public Works, which amounted to $473,043.58 in grants overall, funded by state general obligation bonds that are not part of MDA's general fund budget allocation.
The 32 projects together will prevent 4,458.35 pounds of nitrogen, 1,256.21 pounds of phosphorus and 801.1 tons of soil from entering the Bay and its tributaries, according to MDA.
"Working together, we can ensure a smart, green and growing future for future generations, preserve open space and maintain the rich agricultural heritage of our state," O'Malley said.
For the past 28 years, the Maryland Agriculture Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program has provided farmers with grants to cover up to 87.5 percent of the cost to install conservation measures, or BMPs, and farmers have installed 21,900 water quality projects, or about two BMPs per day, every day for 28 years, according to MDA.
Grassed waterways constructed to prevent gully erosion in farm fields, streamside buffers of grasses and trees planted to filter sediment and farm runoff, and animal waste management systems constructed to help farmers safely handle and store manure resources are among more than 30 BMPs currently eligible for MACS grants.
In Caroline County, the two grants will work to manage 640 pounds of nitrogen and 304 pounds of phosphorus.
The three BMPs set to be introduced on Brown's farm are a waste storage structure, a dead bird composter and heavy use protection area, which is defined as stabilization to protect an area on a farm that is being utilized frequently and intensively by livestock or farm equipment.
The cost share grant Brown received will cover 87.5 percent of the project, which totals at $82,478.