Want to make a 10 acre plot in Maryland? Maryland Agriculture Dept has grants for that!

27 March 2024- The Maryland Department of Agriculture has announced the sign-up period for its 2024 Small Acreage Cover Crop Program will run from March 25 through April 30, 2024. The program provides grants to help small farms and urban growers plant cover crops in their production areas to build healthy soils, increase crop yields, protect local water quality, and improve climate resilience.

Growers who plant less than ten (10) acres of qualifying cover crops—including cereal grains or cover crop seed mixes— may apply for these grants. Financial assistance for this program is capped at $1,500 per grower per year. 

“Local communities throughout the state need easy access to fresh, healthy food,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “Many of these communities depend on small-scale and urban farmers to provide their families with safe, nutritious food. The Department is pleased to provide these essential growers with conservation grants to plant cover crops that support a local, sustainable food system. I encourage all eligible growers to apply for these grants during the open enrollment period.”

Urban and small-scale producers may download grant applications on MDA’s website, which must be postmarked by April 30, 2024, for consideration in this year’s program. Highlights of the grant include: 

  • Maximum payment per grower is $1,500 per year.
  • Growers will be reimbursed based on paid receipts. 
  • Eligible species include single cereal grains or cover crop seed mixes. 
  • Cover crops may be planted in open plots/fields, raised beds, or a high tunnel.
  • Growers should follow cover crop planting recommendations made by the seed manufacturer or the University of Maryland Extension for eligible species.

The Department’s Small Acreage Cover Crop Program is funded by the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund and managed by the Small Farm and Urban Agriculture Program. Interested growers should contact Bill Tharpe, the Program Administrator for the Small Farm and Urban Agriculture Program, at bill.tharpe@maryland.gov or 410-841-5869. For additional information, please visit the website.