Grain News & Updates
2019 Small Grain Variety Trial Data Available
The UMD small grain variety trial data are now available. View the report online, or contact your local ag agent the Extension Office for a hard copy. Information is intended to help growers select the best wheat and barley varieties for the 2020 crop. Additional variety data on DON vomitoxin is also posted on this page. Funding for these projects was provided in part by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board.

Farmers Encouraged to Aerial Seed Cover Crops by September 1
The Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds farmers who signed up for grants to plant fall cover crops that it pays to plant early. Farmers who hire an airplane or helicopter to aerial seed cover crops into standing corn can qualify for an additional $10 per acre incentive payment if they plant between  August 15 and September 1 . Additional early planting incentives are available to farmers who signed up to plant cover crops using other methods. For more information, farmers contact their local soil conservation district, or call the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program at 410-841-5864.

Deadline to Sign Up for CRP and CREP is August 23
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept new applications and extensions for expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts through August 23 at USDA Service Centers throughout Maryland. In addition, FSA will accept extensions for existing Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreements to protect environmentally sensitive cropland through the August 23 deadline. Interested producers should contact their USDA Service Center.

Farm Employment Inspections
The following was provided by Sarah Everhart, Legal Specialist, Agriculture Law Education Initiative, University of Maryland

In the past 12 months, inspectors from the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Wage and Hour Division have been conducting inspections on farms and nurseries in Maryland. These inspections have focused on employers with H-2A workers and have required employers to produce years of required records. Following the inspections, severe fines and penalties have been issued to employers. After hearing about these inspections, ALEI partnered with the Maryland Department of Labor and Licensing Regulation and created some resources to help better prepare farm employers for these inspections. The first is a self-audit worksheet to help employers do an internal review of operations and recordkeeping related to both H-2A and non-H2A employees. The second is a recorded webinar on this subject that is available for download.

Remember: If you have migrant or seasonal workers (non H-2A) you are subject to the federal Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act (MSPA). For more information on this law and what is requires check out this publication and for more information, please contact the Agriculture Law Education Initiative (410-706-7377).

It is very likely these inspections will continue to occur throughout Maryland in the near future. If you have H-2A, migrant and/or seasonal laborers at your operation please take advantage of the resources above and make sure your operation is in legal compliance prior to an inspection.
Tell EPA: Waivers Are Gutting the RFS
In the recent annual RFS volume proposal, EPA proposes to increase total renewable fuel blending by 120 million gallons and maintain an implied conventional ethanol requirement of 15 billion gallons.  But these volumes are meaningless amid EPA's expansion of retroactive RFS waivers for refineries, which now total 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons. Farmers have no confidence EPA will ensure these volumes are met - which the law requires - because EPA fails to account for projected waivers in this proposal.
In addition, EPA proposes to ignore a 2017 court decision that EPA improperly cut 500 million gallons of renewable fuels blending in 2016.

Tell EPA the agency must account for waived gallons in the volume rule in order to keep the RFS whole. The deadline for comments is August 30, 2019.
Save on Back to School Shopping with NCGA-Office Depot Membership Benefit
The coming school year is facing families on farms and in cities alike. Members of the National Corn Growers Association can save on the supplies they need for a successful school year through the association’s partnership with Office Depot. Online and in-store, NCGA members are eligible for special discounts on the products necessary to help their families prepare for another successful school year.

The benefit offers members discounts on already low Office Depot prices and provides the flexibility to shop online and at any of their retail locations with a Store Purchasing Card. Online savings include up to 55 percent off a 260 item “best buy” list of their most popular items and 5 percent off every online item. Members can also save 10 percent off everything in Office Depot & OfficeMax retail stores with their store card.