Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published August 30, 2012




Marc Goldberg – Lt. Governor’s Office
Office: 410-260-3888 <tel:410-260-3888>
Cell: 443-336-3032 <tel:443-336-3032>

Julianne Oberg – MDA
Office: 410-841-5888 <tel:410-841-5888>
Cell: 443-758-4466 <tel:443-758-4466>


Lauds Farmers’ Environmental Stewardship Efforts

SPARKS, Md. (August 30, 2012) – Today, surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown joined Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, agricultural leaders, local farmers, and elected officials to announce record cover crop acreage by Maryland farmers.

“We are working with Maryland’s farmers to protect family farms and agriculture jobs, and to keep family farming profitable,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Today’s announcement is great news for our farmers who continue to take strong conservation actions to diversify their farming operations and use new and innovative ways to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Together, we are creating jobs and supporting rural economies, improving our quality of life, and securing the future of Maryland agriculture and our environment for generations to come.”

Lt. Governor Brown announced that Maryland has approved a record 607,000 acres of winter grains to date in the Cover Crop Program, which were requested by a record 1,860 farmers – 152 of which were new to the program this year. This record acreage represents 170 percent of the current two year goals of Watershed Implementation Plan for cover crops. Cover crops are one of the most cost-effective means of helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

Cover crops are planted in the fall after the autumn harvest to help farmers control soil erosion and reduce the amount of nutrients washing into the bay over the winter. Once established, cover crops recycle unused plant nutrients remaining in the soil from the previous summer crop, protect fields against wind and water erosion, and help improve the soil for the next year’s crop. Maryland’s Cover Crop Program provides farmers with grants to plant cover crops on their fields immediately following the summer crop harvest

“Not only is Maryland’s cover crop program a very attractive and flexible program, it has the potential to do more for the Bay than ever before. Maryland farmers exceeded the Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan milestone for cover crops last year and are on track to exceed it again this year with a record number of approved acres,” said Agriculture Secretary Hance. “We commend and thank all farmers who, together, have enrolled more than half a million acres of small grain crops that protect our soil and water by taking up any remaining nutrients and preventing soil erosion over the winter.”

Top counties ranked by the largest percentage of eligible farmland enrolled:

Allegany – 109%
Montgomery – 99%
Calvert – 88%
Somerset – 88%
Talbot – 78%
Kent – 73%

Top counties ranked by most acres enrolled:
Kent – 62,938
Queen Anne's – 62,036
Talbot – 57,864
Frederick – 49,959
Caroline – 46,360
Dorchester – 43,519
Worcester – 40,448

The announcement was made at Cold Bottom Farms, Inc., in Baltimore County, which is currently farmed by third and fourth generation Maryland farmers. Together, cousins Chuck and Jim Ensor, Jim’s son Jamie and Chuck’s son-in-law Ben Copenhaver manage approximately 4,500 acres, including 2,700 acres of corn and 1,800 acres of soybeans. Cold Bottom Farms was named Cooperator of the Year in 1999 by the Baltimore County Soil Conservation District. The family has consistently been one of the biggest participants in the cover crop program and aims to plant 2,000 acres of cover crops this fall.

For a chart showing approved cover crop acres and applications, 2005 to 2012: <>

For a chart showing number of eligible acres, per county, and the number of acres that have been applied for: <>