ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has launched its 2023 Manure Happens public education campaign to help citizens understand how and why farmers recycle manure as a fertilizer and soil amendment for their crops. The messaging will run throughout March on social media and other digital outlets.
“Spring planting promises a new beginning for farmers and gardeners alike,” said MDA Secretary Kevin Atticks. “It’s a busy and exciting time of year. But for newcomers to farm country, odors can become overwhelming in springtime when farmers spread manure on their fields as a crop fertilizer. This public education campaign aims to help citizens understand how their farming neighbors manage manure resources.”
The 2023 Manure Happens campaign features a series of digital messages that carry the theme, Welcome to Farm County. Users who click the message will be redirected to the department’s Manure Happens webpage for information on how farmers protect local streams when spreading manure and caring for their animals. In addition, the website tells the story of how and why farmers use manure as a crop fertilizer.
Tips for farmers who want to be good neighbors when spreading manure and essential resources for growers wanting to learn more about manure, including links to the department’s manure transport and manure injection grants, are also included. Information on conservation equipment tax credits, nutrient management regulations, and scientific research on the benefits of manure as a crop fertilizer is also available on the website.
Farmers worldwide have used manure to grow their crops for hundreds of years. This all-natural fertilizer delivers nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients for strong, healthy crops. Importantly, manure returns valuable organic matter to the soil for increased water and nutrient retention.
Maryland farmers are required to follow nutrient management plans when applying fertilizer and organic nutrient sources like manure to their crops. Manure that is applied to tilled fields must be incorporated or injected into the soil within 48 hours of application to reduce odors and nutrient losses. In addition, buffers and setbacks are required to further protect local streams from runoff.
Maryland does not allow manure to be spread on fields in winter or when the ground is frozen. March 1 is the earliest farmers may recycle manure stored over the winter as a natural crop fertilizer and soil conditioner.
For additional information about the campaign, please contact the MDA Office of Resource Conservation at 410-841-5788.