Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our own  Steuart Pittman ( Dodon Farm Training Center, Davidsonville,  Anne Arundel) joins the important Agricultural Certainty Oversight Committee !!

Agriculture Secretary Announces Members of Agricultural Certainty Oversight Committee

MDA LogoANNAPOLIS, MD – Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance has announced member of the Agricultural Certainty Oversight Committee – the group that will develop the regulations necessary to implement the program and then continue to evaluate the program and make recommendations for moving forward.
The Agricultural Certainty Program, which was passed by the General Assembly during the most recent legislative session, will allow farmers who voluntarily implement advanced best management practices (BMPs) to conduct their business without additional regulations for ten years. After ten years, however, farmers will have to be in full compliance with all regulations in effect at that time. The intention of the program is to help speed up Bay Restoration efforts by encouraging farmers to more quickly implement BMPs while providing them with a predictable regulatory environment.
“The members of the Oversight Committee are proven experts and dedicated environmental and agricultural professionals who will bring a vast array of perspectives and experience to the important task before us,” said Secretary Hance. “I thank each of them for volunteering for this position and I look forward to working with them in the months ahead to make the Agricultural Certainty program the most effective and successful it can be..”
Members are:
• Ridgway Hall, attorney, Washington, D.C.
• Trey Hill, farmer, Rock Hall (Kent County)
• Lynne Hoot, Edgewater (Anne Arundel County)
• David Kann, AET, Crop Consulting, Dover, PA
• Drew Koslow, Choptank Riverkeeper, Easton (Talbot County)
• Wes Messick, Dorchester County Soil Conservation District Chairman
• Doug Myers, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis (Anne Arundel County)
• Judith Marie O’Neil, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge (Dorchester County)
• Steuart Pittman, Dodon Farm Training Center, Davidsonville (Anne Arundel)
• James Raley, Valentine’s Delight Farm, Avenue (St. Mary’s County)
• Denny Remsburg, Frederick/Catoctin Soil Conservation District Manager
• Paul Spies, Chester River Association, Cordova (Talbot County)
• Robert Stabler, farmer, Brookville (Montgomery County)
• Wayne Stafford, Cecil County Farm Bureau (Cecil County)
• Ann Swanson, Chesapeake Bay Commission, Annapolis (Anne Arundel County)
In addition to these members, the committee will include representatives who have not yet been selected from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Department of the Environment.
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Water Quality Trading in the Chesapeake Bay: Partnerships for Success

Water quality improvements in the Chesapeake Bay benefit the many species of wildlife that call it home.
Water quality improvements in the Chesapeake Bay benefit the many species of wildlife that call it home.
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the largest estuary in North America, covers 64,000 square miles and includes more than 150 rivers and streams that drain into the bay. Roughly one quarter of the land in the watershed is used for agricultural production, and agricultural practices can affect the health of those rivers and streams, and ultimately the bay itself.
While the health of the Chesapeake Bay has improved since the 1970s, excess nutrients and sediment continue to adversely affect water quality in local rivers and streams, which contributes to impaired water quality in the bay.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is working with several agencies and organizations to test innovative water quality trading tools that will help improve the bay’s water quality, benefiting the more than 300 species of fish, shellfish and crab, and many other wildlife that call the Chesapeake Bay home.
In 2012, NRCS awarded Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to 12 entities to help develop water quality trading programs; five of these recipients are in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
USDA is excited about water quality trading’s potential to achieve the nutrient reductions necessary to improve water quality at a lower cost than regulation alone. For example, a wastewater treatment plant could purchase a nutrient credit rather than facing higher compliance costs if structural improvements are required on site. This is advantageous because it saves regulated industries money, and can provide additional income for the agricultural community by supporting adoption of conservation practices that reduce nutrient runoff.
NRCS recently met with these organizations and agencies to share expertise and identify common obstacles and priorities. During the meeting, NRCS briefed recipients on trading tools and policies, and invited groups working on water quality trading programs across the country to share ideas. The Chesapeake Bay CIG awardees will continue to meet throughout the duration of their projects to share updates and collaborate on innovative solutions to water quality challenges in the Chesapeake Bay.
These grants are part of the largest conservation commitment by USDA in the bay region. NRCS works side by side with farmers and ranchers to improve water, air and soil quality through conservation.
Follow NRCS on Twitter.
Check out other conservation-related stories on the USDA blog.

Preparing for you Lender, Part II

For many, purchasing a farm is a lifelong dream.  Longtime Maryland Horse Council sponsor MidAtlantic Farm Credit ( helps many Maryland residents make this dream into a reality.  Here is a brief guide to how to prepare for your lender. 

In our last MHC blog we talked about ways to assess your lender when deciding whether or not they are the correct fit for you. This time, we want to share with you a list of items your lender uses to access your credit requests:

1. Financial Information & Documentation
  • Balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Cash flow projections
2. Written Business Plan

3. Personal Consumer Credit Check
  • Verifies balance sheet information
  • Credit history
4. Credit Score
  • Range from 300’s to 900’s
  • Factors that impact credit score (payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit requests)
5. Personal Characteristics
  • Honesty and ethics
  • Open and regular communication
  • Involved spouse/business partner
If you have any questions about preparing for your lender, please feel free to give us a call at 888.339.3334, email us at  or visit our website at