With the spring planting season drawing near, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has launched its 2018 “Manure Happens” public-education campaign to help citizens understand how and why farmers recycle manure as a natural crop fertilizer and soil conditioner.Yep, live in the country and smell country smells. I remember when they harvested mint an let it ferment in the fields outside Corvallis, Oregon.
The 2018 campaign includes information on how farmers using different types of farming practices apply manure to their fields, along with the steps they must take to protect water quality in local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The ads will run in local newspapers, websites and social media throughout March.
“Today’s consumers want to know everything about how their food is produced, including the environmental impacts of production practices,” Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder said in a news release. “The ‘Manure Happens’ campaign aims to address any concerns the public might have regarding the use of manure as a fertilizer. In upcoming weeks, you will start to see — and smell — farmers spreading manure on their fields when conditions are right for spring planting. Please be considerate, and remember to share the road with our farmers when driving in farm country.”
Farmers using conventional farming techniques till manure into the soil. That improves nutrient retention and reduces odors for nearby neighbors. Farmers who have switched to no-till farming practices to reduce erosion and rebuild their soil’s health, grow their crops without disturbing the soil. The farmers apply manure to the surface of the soil and are required to install additional protections like 35-foot buffers to protect local streams from runoff.
Maryland’s nutrient-management regulations prohibit farmers from spreading manure on their fields in winter or when the ground is frozen. March 1 was the first day for farmers to recycle manure generated over the winter as a crop fertilizer. To further protect water resources, Maryland farmers are required to incorporate manure into the soil within 48 hours if they are not using no-till farming practices.