Much like our famous Business Beat on Wednesdays, we’re starting a new Friday column: AgriCulture.

News from the fields, farms and beyond...

Kilby Farms LLC in Colora is using a $115,000 Maryland Energy Administration grant to install a 240 kW biogas fueled Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system in its dairy barns. The unit not only generates electricity but also provides heat, and in a more environmentally friend way.

While most CHP systems operate on natural gas the Kilbys will use biogas from the farm instead. This will reduce costs, allowing more money to be poured back into the farm, according to MEA officials. The biogas is from a combination of manure from the farm and food scraps from Rising Sun High School. The system will allow the farm to sell excess energy back to the grid as well.

The next grant application period is open now, with a Feb. 12 deadline. For more information contact Rory Spangler, CHP Program Manager, at 443-694-8007 or Rory.Spangler@Maryland.gov.

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Mid-Atlantic Women in Agriculture will be held Feb. 12-13 at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, 1131 North Dupont Highway in Dover.

There will be several pre conference break out sessions on the first day from 1 until 5 p.m. with a harness racing reception from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Topics will be “Mindfully Managing Stress and Building Farm and Farm Family Resilience” and “From Farm to Market: Tips and Tools for promoting, displaying and selling produce.”

The main conference will start at 8:30 a.m. the following day and run until 4:30.

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Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder has appointed Dr. Michael Odian as the new state veterinarian. A vet for 25 years, Odian owns and operates an equine practice in Carroll County with a specialty in sport horse medicine. He has a deep attachment to the racing community with his work from Grand Prix jumpers to the Circuit Show hunters and World Champion Western reigning horses. He also raises, breeds and shows Percheron draft horses.

Bartenfelder also thanked Dr. Nancy Jo Chapman, assistant state veterinarian, for covering the role during the transition.

“Dr. Chapman’s willingness to step up and lead the Animal Health Program during an extremely busy year is a tribute to her dedication to the department and her passion for the health of Maryland’s animals,” Bartenfelder said.

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Cecil County Master Gardeners will host a free family friendly Garden Fest Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Elkton Central Library, 301 Newark Avenue. For more information contact the Cecil County Extension Office at 410-996-5280. To learn more about the Master Gardener program check out this link https://extension.umd.edu/mg

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If you want to learn more about the proposed changes to the Farm Bill come to a workshop Feb. 27 from 9 a.m until 3:30 p.m. at the Cecil County Administration, Perryville Room, 200 Chesapeake Boulevard in Elkton.

Observers call the 2018 bill “evolutionary and not revolutionary” when compared to the 2014 bill. The new bill will continue to offer the Agricultural Risk Coverage program and the Price Loss Coverage program, but with some changes. At the workshop you can learn more about the changes and how it could affect your production.

“Although many eligible producers may think they understand how the programs operate, its important to remember Congress did make changes to the programs. All producers should consider attending to better familiarize themselves with the changes and how those changes could impact program payments,” said Paul Goeringer, Extension Legal Specialist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland.

The $15 cost covers lunch and your guaranteed seat for the seminar. Pre-registration can be accomplished at https://extension.umd.edu/events/thu-2020-02-27-0900-upper-shore-farm-bill-meeting

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March 1 is the deadline to have your 2019 Annual Implementation Reports (AIRs) to the Maryland Department of Agriculture. This documents your planned applications from the previous year, including lab analysis if needed. Look in your nutrient management plan or talk with the consultant that helped write the plan for details.

If you still have questions contact Darren Alles at 410-638-4828 extension 5220 or send an email to darren.alles@maryland.gov.

Maryland Department of Agriculture will offer a webinar Feb 13 from 2 until 3 p.m. to explain the forms and answer questions. For more information and to register go to https://extension.umd.edu/events/thu-2020-02-13-1400-mda-2019-annual-implementation-report-overview-and-qa.

An instruction packet can be obtained at https://mda.maryland.gov/resource_conservation/Pages/air.aspx

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Crop Happens; where to get fresh local veggies now

Priapi Gardens in Cecilton is open year round with a selection of organic local or regional produce. Their Winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members are enjoying Red Russian kale, Brussels sprouts crowns, mixed organic mushrooms, rainbow carrots, sweet potatoes and more. If you are not a CSA member you can still purchase these in the market store at 5996 Augustine Herman Highway Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m until 5 p.m.

The vegetables are being grown in greenhouses, high tunnels, or even hydroponically throughout the winter.

Across Cecil County in Rising Sun, Flying Plow Farm also offers farm fresh veggies in winter. Shop Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon at their farm stand and find organic carrots, greens, garlic, turnips and other root crops. They also partner with local producers and offer Chesapeake Gold Farms cheeses and Firetower Farm Brewery beer tastings.

Flying Plow also has a CSA. Find out more at flyingplowfarm.com or visit the farm store at 96 Johnson Farm Lane.

If you have a farm related event, idea or story you’d like to share in AgriCulture contact Jane Bellmyer at jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com or 443-245-5007

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