Monday, December 10, 2012

2012 Wrap Up and Heads Up for Next Meeting

        Well the Maryland Horse Council Farm Stewardship Committee had a good year.  We held wonderful meetings at the lovely farms of Carolyn Krome and Steve Darcey, made new contacts, clarified our mission and gave the Maryland Horse Council a more powerful voice in the political world of agriculture and the environment.  Our mission of getting recognition for our well-managed horse farms is off to a strong start with the help of  Gerald Talbert, Project Leader of the Maryland Farm Stewardship, Certification and Assessment Program (FSCAP) who explained the program to meeting participants and took the initiative to print a program brochure highlighting our horses.  As of mid-December, we can celebrate the fact that FIVE horse farms with a total of 430 acres are now "Certified Agricultural Conservation Stewards."


Congratulations to Persimmon Tree Farm and Carolyn Krome,  Edgewood Farm and Steve Darcey, Bloomsbury Forge and Karla Stoner, Graden/ Rover’s Content and  Milly Welsh, and Wyndham Oaks and Lori Larson.

In our mission to keep connecting horse farms with the technical and financial resources available to them, we have posted a resource list on the website, provided a forum for presentations from Maryland Soil Conservation Districts and our vice-chair, Amy Burk, has presented information on the many programs available through the University of Maryland system, especially in the area of pasture management.  We will continue to seek out and disseminate information on these resources.

In cooperation with the Maryland Horse Council legislative gurus (mainly vice president Jane Seigler), we have provided information on the laws and regulations governing land use, including sending out notices about opportunities to provide comments on draft laws and regulations.  This effort led to modification of some rules to make them more practical and user-friendly to our horse community.  

In our examination of farm stewardship issues, we have identified the need to clarify options for composting horse manure on your own farm and at commercial facilities.  An issue for discussion at the first meeting of 2013 will be whether to compile a list of quality haulers and composters for use by new horse farm owners and those considering the composting options.  

So, hats off to all of the people who helped move the farm stewardship programs forward and to our president Stueart Pittman for his support.  Thank you.  

For next year, we are off to a great beginning with the Winter Farm Stewardship Committee Meeting set to be held at Wyndham Oaks in Montgomery County from 3:00 to 5:30 pm on Monday, February 18 (Presidents' Day).  I am delighted to report that Lori Larson, the owner of Wyndham Oaks, has agreed to not only host the meeting at her beautiful dressage barn club room but also speak about her experience with the Farm Stewardship Certification Program.  In addition, we will have the pleasure of tour and presentation of the barn's design by its architect, John Blackburn, who specializes in barns designed for healthy horses and the use of natural light and ventilation.  Amy Burk will fill out the program with information on new University of Maryland programs for equines and on the renovated teaching farm on the university campus. 

Thanks to everyone for your positive energies and efforts in improving and celebrating our horse farm stewardship.

Happy Holidays !!!!!!!!!!!