By The Associated Press
2:46 PM EDT, August 30, 2012
Maryland has approved a record 607,000 acres of winter grains so far in the state’s cover crop program.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance joined agricultural leaders and farmers on Thursday to announce the milestone.
A record 1,860 farmers are participating in the program, and 152 of them are new to the initiative this year.
The record acreage represents 170 percent of the current two-year goals of the watershed implementation plan for cover crops.
The program gives grants to farmers who plant cover crops immediately after the summer harvest. Cover crops like wheat and barley absorb unused nutrients and control soil erosion. They also help protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.