Cost-Share Programs

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.

Cover Crop Program:

  • The 2019-2020 Winter Cover Crop Program is open June 21 through July 17, 2019.
  • Bring a copy of your Nutrient Management Plan Certification form to your meeting to sign up for cover crop.
  • It is highly recommended that you contact the office to coordinate a time with Jerry Spence or Randy Sweeney, our two Agricultural Resource Conservation Specialists, to handle your application process. The application process will only take a few minutes, but we want to ensure there is staff available to help you and in a timely manner.
  • Please note that there will be no one available Tuesday, June 25, Wednesday, June 26, Thursday, July 4, and Friday, July 5.

Spring of 2020 Certification Reminders:

  • The first day to kill down cover crop for the 2019-2020 program is March 1, 2020.
  • Report to Charles SCD within two weeks of kill down or suppression.

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 5-10 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 incorporation 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 the 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.