Farmers can sign up for cover crop program

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is taking sign-ups for the 2005 Winter Cover Crop Program through July 15.

Farmers who plant cover crops this fall may apply to help reduce soil erosion and protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The cost-share assistance program pays up to $50 an acre.

Information: 410-848-2780.

Flower tour, conference scheduled for July 14

The University of Maryland Cooperative Extension will co-sponsor a Summer Evening Cut Flower Conference and Tour from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. July 14 at Triadelphia Farm in western Howard County.

A fourth-generation family-run farm, Triadelphia has transitioned from dairy production to field crops to Christmas trees, vegetables and cut flowers.

Registration will begin at 3 p.m. and the walking tour at 3:30 p.m. The tour will include Brown's Cut Flower part of the farm and demonstrate how flowers are prepared and harvested for sale at farmers' markets.

Included will be a discussion of equipment used in commercial cut flowers and flower insect and disease problems.

A dinner will be served during the program. The cost is $20 if received by July 5.

Information: 301-596-9413.

Nominations open for seats on FSA county committees

Farmers, ranchers and other agriculture producers can nominate eligible candidates for the 2005 elections to serve on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency county committees.

The deadline for nominations is Aug. 1.

Committees make decisions on county commodity price-support loan eligibility, establishment of allotments and yields, conservation programs, disaster programs, employment and other issues.

Eligible candidates must participate or cooperate in an agency program, be of legal voting age, and live in the county or area where the election is being held. Individuals may nominate themselves or others.

County committees must annually review the local administrative area boundaries to ensure fair representation of socially disadvantaged producers in their area.

Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by Nov. 4. The deadline to return ballots is Dec. 5. Elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1.

Information: 410-848-2780.

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