ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Department of Agriculture is now accepting FY 2019 grant solicitations for its Animal Waste Technology Fund. This program seed funding to vendors, businesses and individuals offering technologies that can improve the management and utilization of manure and other nutrient-rich, on-farm generated manure products. This is an important component of Governor Larry Hogan’s broader Agriculture Phosphorus Initiative to improve water quality, strengthen agriculture and bolster rural economies.
The fund has $3.5 million available to invest in innovative technologies during FY 2019. A minimum of $2 million will be directed at projects with a renewable energy component. There is no maximum or minimum request. Vendors, businesses and individuals are invited to respond to this grant solicitation which can be downloaded from the department’s website: http://mda.maryland.gov/resource_conservation/Pages/innovative_technology.aspx.
Proposals should be submitted by 4 p.m. on Dec. 28 to:
Maryland and other Bay jurisdictions are working to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay by reducing the amount of sediment and nutrients — mainly nitrogen and phosphorus — entering its waters by 2025. Maryland farmers are well ahead of the curve in their management of on-farm nutrients. In 2015, the state began transitioning to the Phosphorus Management Tool, an updated tool that uses the best available science to identify the potential risk of phosphorus loss from farm fields and prevent additional buildup in already saturated soils.
While poultry litter and livestock manure make excellent fertilizers and soil amendments, their use as a crop fertilizer creates challenges for farms with high soil phosphorus levels. To help these producers protect waterways from excess phosphorus and remain profitable, Maryland is investing in innovative technologies that support new uses for manure such as alternative product development and manure-to-energy projects that add value to the farm business model.
Funding support for the Animal Waste Technology Fund is provided by the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund and the Maryland Energy Administration. For more information, visit the program’s website.
— Maryland Department of Agriculture