Persimmon Tree Farm owner Carolyn Krome watched from a safe distance as the natural resources management company Sustainable Solutions LLC prepared to burn more than 40 acres of warm season grasses on her Westminster farm Thursday morning.
Standing on a hill, Persimmon Tree Farm owner Carolyn Krome watched from a safe distance as the natural resources management company Sustainable Solutions LLC prepared to burn more than 40 acres of warm season grasses on her Westminster farm Thursday morning.
"Burning warm season grasses is good for weed control and it stimulates the grasses' growth," explained Jennifer Kemp, a Natural Resources Conservation Service soil conservationist. "It's not something that's done very often because it can be expensive and you have to time it just right."
Maryland Department of Agriculture soil conservation planner Matt McMahon said the controlled burning "hinges on safety concerns."
"You have to be mindful of the wind direction and if the conditions are too dry for a fire," McMahon explained.
Krome said she bought the 135-acre Westminster farm in 1985. She had a horse business in Owings Mills and relocated it to this property. Krome said she was the first horse farm in Maryland to enroll in the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts' Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program.
"The whole reason I have this farm is for wildlife," Krome said. "I didn't want to put it in cropland where it would be exposed to herbicides and insecticides."
Kemp described Krome as "a great conservationist."
"She's very proactive," Kemp said. "She did a lot of the plantings on her own, but she's also installed a pollinator habitat, warm season grasses, and a shallow water development with the assistance of Carroll County Soil Conservation District."
Krome said she has been enrolled in th eConservation Reserve Enhancement Program for 15 years. In Maryland, CREP offers additional incentives to encourage landowners to implement practices that will help reduce sediment and nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay and will improve wildlife habitat. CREP is administered by the Farm Service Agency. NRCS and cooperating agencies are providing technical assistance to help landowners plan and implement CREP practices.
"There are stipulations on how the land is used," Krome said. "We can't use it for hay or grazing and we cannot spread manure."