The Charles Soil Conservation District promotes the wise use of our natural resources through programs
 that encourage installation of conservation practices which conserve our natural resources.

General Information

Agricultural Activities

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Soil Survey/ Maps

Agricultural Activities

Technical Assistance for Agricultural Activities

The Charles SCD provides technical assistance to landowners and farmers interested in soil conservation and agricultural conservation practices. Some of the technical assistance that we may provide include: conservation planning, site evaluation for best management practices, survey and design work for agricultural practices.
There are a number of conservation programs available. We may be able to assist you in determining if your land is suitable/ eligible and help you through the application and program delivery process.  
If you are interested in obtaining technical assistance, please contact our office.

Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plan for Farmland

Conservation plans are a valuable tool for resource management. The purpose of a Soil Conservation and Water Quality plan is to assist farmers with making the best possible use of their soil and water resources, while protecting and conserving those resources for the future. Conservation plans are designed primarily to correct soil erosion, animal waste, and/or nutrient runoff problems. However, the plans can also be developed to make better use of a resource, increase production, improve wildlife habitat, increase recreational opportunities, or save energy and labor.
The conservation plan folder contains:
   1) an aerial, photo-based map or sketch with the needed conservation practices outlined on it;
   2) a written record of the landowner’s decisions and a schedule for implementation, and;
   3) a map showing the type and location of soils on the farm. Other useful information, such as soil loss,
       maintenance, seeding, tillage, fertilization, and pesticide application may be included.
Conservation plans are not required, unless you are participating in government programs, or you have been cited for a water quality violation, or you wish to sell your development rights to the State under the Farmland Preservation program. The soil and water conservation program in Maryland is voluntary.
If you are interested in developing a conservation plan for your farm, please contact the District and make an appointment with our staff to meet with you on your farm to identify soil erosion and water quality issues. To customize your plan, our staff needs to know your farming operation, your cropping needs and goals, and your livestock program. Additional details about soils and slopes on your farm, and the location of streams, ponds, and other water sources will be discussed with you.

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Nutrient Management for Farmland

The Water Quality Improvement Act of 1998 required all farmers grossing $2,500 a year of more, or livestock producers with 8,000 pounds or more of live animal weight, to have a nutrient management plan that addresses both nitrogen and phosphorus inputs. The requirement applies to all agricultural land used to produce plants, food, feed, fiber, animals or other agricultural products. If you fall into this category you are required to keep your nutrient management plan current and submit a nutrient management annual implementation report to Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Soil Testing

Soil Testing Labs. Some information about taking soil samples. (Click here for Website)

Conservation Rental Equipment

The Charles SCD is now offering four pieces of conservation equipment for rental. Equipment available includes: 12' Turbo Till, Post Pounder- Trailer Model, No Till Drill with Small Seed Box and Subsoiler with Burm Conditioner.
                                                          Rental Equipment Brochure

Interested renters, please follow these easy steps:

Stop by the Charles SCD office to complete a Conservation Assistance Agreement and schedule a date and time you would like to reserve the equipment or;
Mail the completed Conservation Assistance Agreement to your office and call to schedule a date and time you would like to reserve the equipment. The completed Agreement must be received by our office prior to scheduling.

If renting the post pounder, view safety video at Charles SCD.

On the day you are scheduled to use the equipment, pick up the equipment from Hugh C. Gardiner's, Inc.

When you are finished, return the equipment to Hugh C. Gardiner's, Inc. as scheduled and pay for the equipment rental. 

The lower rental rates are possible through cooperative efforts of Charles SCD, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission and USDA-NRCS. The goal of the program is to increase the number of farms implementing conservation methods and offer equipment that enables small acreage farmers access to operate without the significant expense of purchasing equipment.

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Federal and State Conservation Programs Available for Cost-Share

MACS Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program has helped farmers protect natural resources on their farms, maintain farm productivity, and comply with a growing number of federal and state environmental requirements. The MACS program can cover up to 87.5 percent of the cost to install best management practices (BMPs) to control soil erosion, manage nutrients, and safeguard water quality in streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. Cover crops planted after the fall harvest to soak up unused fertilizers, streamside buffers of grasses and trees planted to protect waterways from sedimentation and agricultural runoff, and animal waste systems designed to help farmers collect and use manure resources are among 30 BMPs currently eligible for funding.

2012-2013 Winter Cover Crop Program

Thanks to all who have signed up for the cover crop program this year. Please see reminders below for the   program(s) for which you have been approved.  Cover Crop Program

Traditional Cover Crop Sign Up Reminders:

  • Last day to plant cover crop at maximum payment rate/acre is October 1, 2012; Last day to report to Charles SCD office is October 9, 2012.

  • Last day to plant cover crop for mid-range payment rate/acre is October 15, 2012; Last day to report to Charles SCD office is October 22, 2012.

  • Last day to plant cover crop for minimum payment rate/acre is November 5, 2012; Last day to report to Charles SCD office is November 13, 2012.

  • All seed test results or seed tags must be turned in to receive payment.

  • Please visit FSA prior to coming in for official FSA aerial maps of your planting location(s).

  • If you can't come into our office, please call us at (301) 934-9588, Ext. 3.

  • All payments will be made in Spring 2013.

Commodity Cover Crop Sign Up Reminders:

  • Last day to plant commodity crop ($25/acre) is November 5, 2012.

  • Last day to report commodity cover crop to Charles SCD office is November 13, 2012.

  • All seed test results or seed tags must be turned in to receive payment.

  • Please visit FSA prior to coming in for official FSA aerial maps of your planting location(s).

  • If you can't come into our office, please call us at (301) 934-9588, Ext. 3.

  • All commodity only payments will be made in Fall 2012.

Cover Crop Spring Certification Reminders:

  • No manure or poultry litter may be applied until March 1, 2013.

  • First day for early kill down to plant early vegetable crops is February 15, 2013.

  • First day to kill down is March 1, 2013 (except as noted above).

  • Within two weeks of kill down or suppression report to Charles SCD; last day to report to Charles SCD office is June 1, 2013.

  • Annual Implementation Report (AIR) must be submitted to MDA Nutrient Management Program by time of Spring Certification.

Federal Conservation Programs Available for Cost-Share
EQIP Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides cost-share assistance to producers for installing and maintaining conservation practices that enhance soil, water, and related natural resources, while sustaining production of food and fiber. With cost-share assistance through EQIP, producers make beneficial, cost effective changes to cropping systems, grazing management systems, waste management systems associated with livestock, and other practices on agricultural land.
WHIP Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. Through WHIP, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service provides both technical and cost-share assistance to establish and improve wildlife habitat. WHIP agreements between NRCS and the participant, generally last from 5 to 10 years from the date the agreement is signed.

AMA Agricultural Management Assistance provides cost-share assistance to agricultural producers to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations. Producers may construct or improve water management or irrigation structures; plant trees for windbreaks or to improve water quality; and mitigate risk through production diversification or resource conservation practices, including soil erosion control, integrated pest management, or transition to organic farming.

CRP Conservation Reserve Program provides technical and financial assistance to eligible landowners to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their land in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner.  CRP encourages landowners to convert highly erodible cropland and other environmentally sensitive areas to permanent cover, such as introduced or native grasses, trees, filter strips, riparian forest buffers, wetlands, and shallow water habitats.
WRP Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program to restore and protect wetlands on private property. It is an opportunity for landowners to enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal agricultural land.

Inquire with the District Conservationist for current programs and rates.

 Conservation Programs Flyer 

2009 EQIP Pest Mngt & Soil Quality Flyer

2009 EQIP Nutrient Mngt Flyer

2011 Charles County Ag Tour

The Charles SCD hosted the 2011 Charles County Ag Tour on March 24. The educational tour was enjoyed by over 20 attendees from the local agricultural community.

The tour visited the farms of the Hancock Brothers, Brent Garner, Francis and Kevin Warring, and David Spaulding. The event covered programs offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Md. Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program (MACS) , and Charles SCD including several best management practices (BMP's) installed with the assistance of Charles SCD and these cost-share programs. Also highlighted was the ag equipment rental program.

The tour was a great success and Charles SCD plans to hold tours covering other subjects of interest. Feel free to let us know if there is a particular agricultural subject you would like to see highlighted on a future tour.


                        Photo Gallery of Best Management Practices

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