This project addressed the production risks related to degrading soil health and excess or insufficient water, and the potential legal risks stemming from water quality regulations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Healthy soil and the right amount of water are two of the most crucial elements for profitable yields. This project educated producers on how innovative cover cropping techniques and water management through conservation drainage can make their farms more resilient. The 58 project participants were row crop farmers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Participants attended workshops on reducing production risk through improved soil health and conservation drainage. Workshops focused on educating producers on these two techniques, the production benefits of implementation, demonstrating techniques in practice, and how proactively implementing best management practices (BMPs) for production benefit can prevent regulatory risk in the future as the Maryland Department of Agriculture works to meet Chesapeake Bay water quality goals. Participants received a comprehensive informational packet that included an overview of conservation drainage and cover crop practices, the impacts on yields and farm profitability, and information on implementation and the associated costs that can be used to evaluate how these practices could work on their own farms.