The Maryland Manure Transport Program has launched a streamlined application process labeled the “Fast-Track” option. Applicants will complete a shortened form that can be processed within 48 hours of receipt by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). MDA Secretary Buddy Hance made the announcement Dec. 9 during a speech at the Maryland Farm Bureau convention.
This is a dual purpose application that can be used to facilitate the fast track process as well as the standard review process currently used. This application can only be used when transporting and land applying poultry litter.
Under the Fast-Track application process, the MDA will continue to:
- Check nutrient management and MACS compliance
- Perform an animal health check
- Verify the poultry company contracting with the sending poultry operation.
Once these checks are completed a conditional approval will be given to allow the poultry litter to be transported to a receiving farm. If there are problems that arise because of the above compliance checks, the application may be delayed or denied.
When using the “Fast-Track” process the nutrient management components (soil tests, manure nutrient analysis and manure application recommendations) will be required before cost share is provided to determine eligibility and payment amount. The applicant choosing the “Fast-Track” option assumes responsibility for adhering to program requirements. Failure to meet program requirements can impact eligibility to receive payment.
Although not eligible for the Fast-Track option, non-poultry producer payment caps were raised last year to $15,000 per application and up to $30,000 per year.
Established in 1998, Maryland’s Manure Transport Program helps poultry, dairy, beef and other livestock producers cover the costs of transporting excess manure. Animal producers with high soil phosphorus levels or inadequate land to properly utilize their manure can receive cost-share assistance of up to $18 per ton to transport excess manure to other farms in accordance with an approved nutrient management plan, or alternative use facilities that can use the product safely.
In FY 2014, the MDA provided Maryland farmers with $608,259 in grants to transport 118,995 tons of manure to approved farms and businesses — more than double the amount of manure transported the previous year. More than 39% of this tonnage was shipped to alternative use facilities and not land applied in the watershed. Delmarva poultry companies provided matching funds to transport poultry litter, bringing the total amount of financial support provided to farmers in FY 2014 through the Manure Transport Program to $1.03 million.