Organic growers eligible for grants

AGRICULTURE NOTES

December 16, 2007

Maryland organic farmers may receive help at training workshops, funded by two new grants designed to help defray producers' costs and improve opportunities for organics in the state.

The first is a $38,000 USDA Conservation Innovation Grant to increase management expertise among organic farmers, maximize the conservation benefits of organic farming, and explore marketing and infrastructure development for organic grain and forage farmers.

The second grant is from the USDA to help organic producers pay for the cost of certifying their operation as organic.

The funding will help pay for training workshops in February and March and field days in late summer/early fall 2008 for organic farmers.

To help farmers pay for the cost of certifying their operation as organic, Maryland received $1 million to help defray the annual certification. MDA has certified 97 producers and 24 handlers as organic.

To be eligible for reimbursement, a Maryland organic production operation must meet USDA national organic standards.

Information: www.mda. state.md.us.

State recognizes old family farms

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is seeking applicants for the Maryland Century Farm Program that recognizes farms in the state that have continually been operated by one family for more than 100 years.

To be eligible, farms must have been in one family more than 100 years, be farmed by the applicant/descendant, must be at least 10 acres, and must gross more than $2,500 from the sale of farm products.

Applications may be downloaded at www.mda.state.md. us/pdf/centapp.pdf.

Information: 410-841-5882.

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