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Cover Crop Program

Cover Crops copyright Edwin Remsberg

 Announcing Maryland’s
2021-2022 Cover Crop Sign-Up

Mail In Registration Runs July 1 - July 16, 2021​ 

GRANTS TO PLANT COVER CROPS  
Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to apply for grants to help offset seed, labor, and equipment costs to plant cover crops in your fields this fall to protect water quality and build your soil’s health. Our grants can make planting cover crops very affordable! 

WHY COVER CROPS? 
​​It’s easy to understand why cover crops are so popular. Cover crops recycle nitrogen, reduce erosion, add valuable organic matter to the soil, and can help protect fields from too much and too little rain. Isn't it time you put cover crops to work in your fields?

MAIL-IN ENROLLMENT  ​
  • Enrollment will be conducted entirely by mail. 
  • Applications will be mailed to farmers who participated in last year’s cover crop program and can be downloaded here from July 1 through July 16, 2021.  
  • Completed applications must be mailed to the local soil conservation district and postmarked between July 1, 2021 and July 16, 2021.

2021-2022 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS  

  • ​The base payment for incorporated seed has been raised to $45/acre. 
  • The base rate for aerial/aerial ground seeding is $50/acre.    
  • Incorporated seed qualifies for a $10/acre early planting incentive. 
  • Farmers who aerial seed or aerial ground seed cover crops into standing corn on or before September 10, 2021 qualify for a $10/acre incentive payment.
  • Farmers who terminate cover crops after May 1, 2022 may be eligible for an Extended Season
    incentive payment of up to $10/acre. 
  • Incentives are available to plant rye or a multi-species cover crop. 
  • Plant cover crops after corn, soybeans, sorghum tobacco, vegetables, hemp and millet.
  • There is a five acre minimum. Total enrolled acres may not exceed acreage managed under the farm’s current Nutrient Management Plan.  
  • Direct deposit of cost-share grants is available.

(Click chart to enlarge) Chart
SEED REQUIREMENTS 
  • ​All seed purchased must be tested and labeled following Maryland Seed Law and Regulations.
  • Purchased seed must be free of prohibited noxious weed seeds, have a minimum germination rate of 80%, and have no more than 16 restricted noxious weeds per pound.
  • Homegrown seed with a germination rate between 65% and 79% may be used. Certain rules apply.
  • Cost-share is available for seed testing.

ELIGIBLE COVER CROP SPECIES  

  • Cereal Grains Wheat/spelt, rye, barley, triticale, oats, and ryegrass
  • Brassicas Forage radish and canola/rape
  • Legumes Clover, Austrian winter peas and hairy vetch (must be planted with a cereal grain as part of a mix

COVER CROP MIXES

  • Two-species cover crop mixes may be planted at a rate of 50 percent cereal grains and 50 percent brassicas or legumes.
  • Three-species mixes (50/25/25) must contain a minimum of 50 percent eligible cereal ​grains.

COVER CROP PLANTING/TERMINATION DATES

  • ​Plant cereal grains by November 5, 2021. Some species have earlier deadlines. 
  • Mixes containing legumes, forage radish, canola/rape, or oats must be planted by October 1, 2021.
  • The aerial seeding deadline for cover crops is October 10, 2021. Some species have earlier deadlines. 
  • Terminate cover crops between March 1 and June 1, 2022. ​

FALL MANAGEMENT OPTIONS 
  • ​Eligible cover crops may be grazed or chopped for on-farm livestock forage after becoming well established.
  • Manure may be applied in fall following Maryland's nutrient management regulations.

CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENT ​
To receive payment, farmers must certify cover crops with their soil conservation district within one week of planting and no later than November 12, 2021. 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  • Participants must be in good standing with MACS and in compliance with Maryland's nutrient management regulations.
  • A current Nutrient Management Plan Certification is required and must be submitted with the application.
  • Additional restrictions may apply. 

    The Cover Crop Program is administered by the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program and funded by the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. See your soil conservation district representative or contract for details.​​​
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Contact Information

Jason D. Keppler
Acting Program Manager
Phone: 410-841-5864
jason.keppler@maryland.gov​

Office Address
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401​


 

 

Cover Crop Forms and Resources


More Info and PDFs​