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Get your flag to celebrate June Dairy Month

Courtesy of Center for Dairy Excellence "Farming for You" garden flag
GET YOUR FLAG: The Center for Dairy Excellence is offering free outdoor garden flags to dairy farmers and industry professionals. They are available at no cost to dairy farmers who want to showcase the value of dairy farming in their communities.
Northeast Notebook: Vermont farmers have new agritourism tools; full cost-share funding now available to Maryland farmers.

With National Dairy Month right around the corner, the Center for Dairy Excellence is offering free outdoor garden flags to dairy farmers and industry professionals.

The flags include “Choose PA Dairy” messaging and are available at no cost to dairy farm families who want to showcase the value of dairy farming in their communities.

The flags highlight the vital role dairy farmers have in communities and the contributions they make to the environment, health and economy. The flags are designed to help dairy producers share their stories and display the Choose PA Dairy message outside their farms or businesses.

Limited quantities of flags are available to dairy farmers and industry professionals. Visit centerfordairyexcellence.org to view the design and request a flag to be mailed to you while supplies last.

Multiple quantities are available by request only. Contact Emily Barge at ebarge@centerfordairyexcellence.org or call 717-346-0849.

New agritourism tools for Vermont farmers

University of Vermont Extension, in collaboration with the Vermont Fresh Network and Dig in Vermont, recently put out a new regulatory navigation tool for agritourism operators.

The free tool is designed to help both individuals new to agritourism or those interested in expanding their enterprises understand and access information about the permits, laws, licenses, land-use regulations and liabilities involved in Vermont agritourism. It also increases accessibility to important information, including what steps farmers and agribusiness owners can take for a successful enterprise.

The information can be accessed at go.uvm.edu. Select an agritourism activity to pursue, then click on the image for a "Getting Started Guide" that provides information and action items specific to that enterprise.

Activities include farm stays, on-farm events, food trucks or food stands, stores or markets, summer camps, farmstand or pick-your-own food made from farm products, and farm tours or educational events.

Another useful resource is the "Regulatory Checklist," a PDF document that can be downloaded and printed. It covers basic regulatory information and action steps for entering into an agritourism operation or activity. It also contains additional resources for specific agritourism businesses, such as weddings, summer camps, farm stays and on-farm dinners.

Maryland BMP cost-share funding increases

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has announced the raising of cost-share funding caps for 34 qualifying best management practices.

Effective May 2, the cost-share ceiling for these BMPs increased to $75,000 per project. This applies to all eligible BMP components, which are based on approved flat rates.

The following BMPs are eligible for the increase: conservation cover, contour farming, contour orchard, critical area planting, diversion, fencing, field border, filter strip, grade stabilization structure, grassed waterway, heavy-use area protection, hedgerow planting, lined waterway or outlet, pasture management, poultry mortality composting, riparian forest buffer, riparian herbaceous cover, roof runoff structure, roofs and covers, sediment basin, sediment control pond, silvopasture, spring development, stream crossing, strip cropping, contour strip cropping, field structure water control, terrace system, vegetated treatment area, waste treatment lagoon, water well, watering facility, wetland restoration, and windbreak establishment.

Established in 1984, the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program provides farmers with grants to help cover the cost of installing conservation practices on their farms to protect water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

Last year, the program received authorization to provide farmers with up to 100% cost-share for more than 20 high-priority conservation practices. Installation of these in-field and edge-of-field conservation practices will help Maryland meet its 2025 Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals.

Maryland farmers interested in applying for MACS cost-share grants should contact their local soil conservation district or the Maryland Department of Agriculture at 410-841-5864.

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