Funds are available to help Maryland farmers transition to organic. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Maryland received $451,235 in fiscal year 2006 through USDA's Agricultural Marketing Assistance (AMA) program. NRCS has leadership responsibility for implementing AMA and is working in partnership with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Cooperative Extension, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service to provide financial and technical assistance to farmers transitioning to organic production
Farmers can receive up to 75 percent financial cost share assistance on eligible agronomic and cultural practices that are necessary to the successful transition to organic production.
The application process to receive consideration for AMA funds begins at the local County NRCS or Soil Conservation District Office. The sign-up period closes on March 31, 2006 so interested farmers should immediately contact these offices for more information on eligible conservation practices, the application process, and receiving conservation assistance. NRCS may hold a second sign-up period this spring if additional funds become available.
Landowners can learn more about AMA and other Farm Bill Programs by contacting NRCS Maryland offices or by visiting the NRCS Maryland homepage at www.md.nrcs.usda.gov.
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