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$60,000 for Trails in St. Mary’s County

The Maryland Board of Public Works, through Program Open Space & Community Parks and Playgrounds, is dedicating $60,000 to St. Mary’s County to design and engineer Phase VI of the Three Notch Trail from Mechanicsville to New Market (Route 5 to Route 236). Phase VI of the trail is approximately five miles long and will be used for walking, bicycling, running, rollerblading and horseback riding....

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USDA Proposes Animal Disease Traceability Rule

On August 10, 2011, the American Horse Council reported that the  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed its Animal Disease Traceability rule.  USDA stated there will be a 90 day period for public comment, which will close on November 9, 2011. The announcement has been anticipated by animal livestock groups across the country after USDA replaced the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) with the Animal Disease Traceability Program (ADTP) in early 2010. The former NAIS program was not fully embraced by the livestock community and generated numerous concerns surrounding confidentiality, liability, cost, and privacy. Rather than attempting to identify every animal, every premise and every animal movement to achieve traceback within 48 hours of a disease outbreak, the proposed ADTP rule is aimed at designing a simplified program to achieve basic traceability with simplified identification means, including branding, to respond to a disease outbreak. The purpose of the proposed rule is to improve the ability to trace livestock, including horses, in the event of a disease outbreak.  The proposed rule establishes minimum national identification requirements to trace livestock that move interstate. Under the proposed rule, livestock that are moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation. Under the proposed rule, horses would have to be identified by one of the following methods: A description of the individual horse, such...

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New Maryland Stable Inspector

After a seven-month hiring process, a new Stable Inspector for the Maryland Horse Industry Board is finally in place. The Maryland Department of Agriculture received well over 100 applications for the entry-level job; at least 60 of those applicants met the minimum qualification standards. Keziah Richard joins longtime veteran Pegeen Morgan as one of the two Stable inspectors, assuming the position vacated by Beverly Raymond, who retired last year after 30 years in the job. Keziah, who goes by her nickname “Kezie” (pronounced “KeeZee”), today lives on a cattle farm in Union Bridge (Carroll County), but she grew up riding horses in the Middletown, DE area. She was a member of the Middletown Pony Club and the New Beginnings 4-H Club and was President and Junior Advisor of the Middletown High School chapter of FFA (Future Farmers of America). She competed in local hunter/jumper horse shows and low level three-Day eventing. After graduating from Middletown High School, she attended Delaware State University for two years, majoring in General Agriculture. While there, she was a member of the Delaware State Intercollegiate Riding Team, competing in Western Horsemanship and Reining. After two years at Delaware State, she transferred to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal and Poultry Science in 2010. Her duties at the Maryland Department of Agriculture will include inspecting both licensed...

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$20,000 Available for Horse Industry Grants; Deadline Sept. 30, 2011

The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) will be accepting grant applications for non-profit research, educational and promotional equine activities, beginning August 1. The board intends to award more than $20,000 in grants that support or develop new opportunities for Maryland’s horse industry. Applications must be received by September 30, 2011. “The horse industry is a critical component of Maryland’s economy. There are more than 79,000 horses in Maryland, and more than 28,000 citizens are employed in the equine industry,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “The Maryland Horse Industry Board works very hard to stimulate growth and opportunity in Maryland’s equestrian community. This grant program is one way it helps spur needed innovation and encourage those most committed to the industry.” Funding for the MHIB and its grants come from The Maryland Feed Fund, which collects $6 on every ton of horse feed sold in Maryland. It is an effective model for how industry groups can help themselves, without relying on taxpayer dollars. Since the Fund was established in 2002, MHIB has awarded nearly $200,000 in grants to more than 175 projects throughout Maryland. Organizations eligible for MHIB grants include non-profit organizations, clubs and associations, businesses, farms and stables, government entities, schools and educational institutions. Projects will be evaluated for their value to the industry, degree of industry promotion, size and scope of activity, financial need, potential for matching funds,...

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Cost-share grants available for nutrient management plans

A few days after the Maryland Department of Agriculture released a message from the Secretary of Agriculture intended to reassure farm owners that there would be plenty of time for public comment on any proposed changes to Maryland’s nutrient management regulations (after a flurry of negative public comment to the changes hit the blogosphere in general and in particular), MDA issued the following press release announcing the availability of more grant money for cost-share programs…to help farm owners implement mandatory nutrient management plans. Board of Public Works Approves $348,384 in Agricultural Cost-Share Grants Grants will help farmers implement conservation practices to protect the environment Governor Martin O’Malley announced that the Board of Public Works approved $348,384.48  in agricultural cost-share grants in 13 counties for 33 projects that will prevent soil erosion, manage nutrients and safeguard water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Together, these projects will prevent approximately 5,744 pounds of nitrogen, 2,215 pounds of phosphorus, and 2,337 tons of soil from entering the Bay and its tributaries.  These projects are funded by state general obligation bonds and are not part of MDA’s general fund budget allocation. The Board is comprised of the Governor, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot. “Maryland has been a leader in helping farmers protect soil and water resources by providing conservation grants to install tried and true conservation measures...

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