Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Although horse farms have a long, long history in Maryland, blogging about them is pretty new, at least for me -- so here goes!

Just a quick note on the progress of the Farm Stewardship Committee to date.  I've had some very interesting conversations with horse farm owners who have worked hard to improve their farms for the health of their horses AND the environment.  I have also spoken to owners looking for help and connected them with technical assistance in their counties.

We sent a letter to about 70 Maryland Horse Council members on our Montgomery County list encouraging them to make full use of the Soil Conservation District Equine Outreach program.

We have worked together with our legislative team to keep on eye on new regulations with an impact on horse farms and kept an active voice on these issues through MHC leadership with the state legislature in Annapolis.

The Maryland Horse Council is interested in joining the Maryland Grazers' Network which includes cattle and environmental groups working toward healthy pastures and hay fields.  We will have a presentation from the Grazers' Network at the May 15 Quarterly Meeting of the MHC.  This is an effort to build bridges among the agricultural interests in the state for the purpose of improving land management.

We are working hard on coming up with the criteria for Chesapeake-Bay Friendly Horse Farm Recognition and will keep you posted.

We are exploring the idea of farm-based workshops on the broad range of stewardship issues.  I'm hoping to have a concrete proposal on this sometime in the spring.  We've posted information on a few seminars and hope to develop a more comprehensive list of farm-stewardship related programs around the state for this website.

Finally, thank you for your interest and enthusiasm in supporting this new initiative of the Maryland Horse Council.  Maryland horse farms are moving quickly toward 21st century management for our horses and our natural world.  I look forward to building on our community spirit and moving forward together.

"Farm Scale Composting" Seminar

On Saturday, March 10, Dr. Gary Felton of the University of Maryland presents a "how to" workshop, "Farm Scale Composting." The classroom portion will explore the science of composting and nutrient management. There will also be a field demonstration on how to build the compost pile, with an emphasis on composting horse manure. A quality composting handbook is included in the registration fee. The event will be held in the Food Science and Technology Building on campus from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with registration being held from 9 -- 9:30 a.m.

For more information about these events and more, contact Kayla Parmar at 410-651-6070 or by email at kjparmar@umes.edu. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register for one or all of the workshops, go to www.umes.edu/1890-mce.