One of the many functions of the District is to prepare soil conservation and water quality plans for the agricultural community. The District currently has over 600 farmers (called cooperators), that are implementing soil and nutrient saving plans on their farms. You to can help protect the environment and keep your farm land productive by having a conservation plan prepared for you TODAY!
Do I Have to Get a Conservation Farm Plan?
Getting a conservation plan through Calvert Soil Conservation District is strictly voluntary. There is no law that requires you to have a conservation plan (unless you are in the critical area where all land must be under conservation planning per Maryland law or participating in a FSA program). However, most farmers that have conservation plans follow them because they decide, with the help of Calvert SCD, what will be included in the plan and it is no problem following the plan. If your operation changes, simply contact your Conservation Planner at Calvert SCD and they will revise your plan according to the changes made on your farm.
Why should I get a Conservation Plan?
Although conservation plans are voluntary, hundreds of Calvert County farmers have plans. By helping farmers preserve their natural resources following a farm plan saves farmers money while reducing the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the Chesapeake Bay and itís tributaries. Farming practices that reduce erosion on farm fields preserve or even enhance the productivity of the field. This increased productivity reduces the amount of soil amendments the farmer would have to apply to his fields to replace the nutrients that would be lost through erosion and deposited into our waterways.
The conservation planning process provides valuable information and technical assistance to farmers, which they can use to improve farm operations and the natural resources on their farms. Specifically, services provided to farmers through the planning process includes:
- Identification and assessment of natural resources issues existing on their farm, and solutions to solving these issues;
- Grazing and pasture management assistance including pasture layout, forage planting recommendations, and weed identification and control recommendations;
- Notification of conservation cost share opportunities and application assistance;
- Coordination with specialists in other natural resource areas such as Foresters, Wildlife Biologists, and Weed Specialists; and
- Notification of Best Management Practice seminar opportunities.
Another benefit to having a farm plan is the complaint mediation service Calvert SCD provides, free of charge, to all their cooperators that have a farm plan on their land. If a farm neighbor complains to Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) about farm related odors, or sediment coming from a farmerís fields, MDE must contact Calvert SCD first. If the farmer has an updated farm plan, and is following the plan, no action will be taken by MDE against the farmer.
How do I get a Conservation Plan?
Itís easy to get a soil and water conservation plan. Call Calvert SCD and ask for a Conservation Planner at 410-535-1521, ext. 3. The Planner will explain what a conservation plan is and make arrangements to meet you at your farm to write a plan specific to your farm operationís needs.