New Podcasts for Farmers about Soil Organic Matter

Ray R Weil, Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland;

My (now former) graduate student Natalie Lounsbury and I just completed a SARE grant to make a series of podcasts with the idea that this might be a good medium to reach farmers so they can learn while they are driving their pickups or combines. We have tried to keep the episodes short and sweet, covering the basics while also delving into some pretty cutting edge science – some of which has changed our understanding of organic matter quite a bit in the past decade!

The first four episodes are all about soil organic matter which is at the core of soil health.

Episode 1: What does organic matter do for your soil?

Episode 2: Where does soil organic matter come from?

Episode 3: What is soil organic matter, really?

Episode 4: How does soil organic matter stick around?

You can listen to all four episodes here:

You can also get the full transcripts if you’re so inclined.

If you do listen, please take a minute to give Natalie some feedback (password “soil”)! We got a grant to make these, so it’s really important for us to know if you find them useful (or not).

Happy listening!

2017 Advanced Pest Management Conference

Friday, December 15, 2017   7:30 am-4:45 pm
Howard Community College
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044

See brochure for information on recertification credits and agenda: Use the brochure to pay by check. Online registration with credit card at:

For questions or more information, contact Suzanne Klick at or (301) 596-9413. Lunch not guaranteed after December 6th. No refunds after December 13, 2017.

Turf Nutrient Management Conference

Thursday, December 7, 2017   8:00 am–1:00 pm
Carroll Community College
1601 Washington Road
Westminster, MD 21157

This program will cover recertification (3 credits) for Maryland turf nutrient management applicators. It is a half day program. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. Lunch not guaranteed after November 30, 2017.

Due to room capacity, space is limited to 160 people on a first come basis.

For detailed agenda go to:

For online registration with credit card:

Historic Lewes Farmers Market Offers Scholarships for Growers to Attend Regional Conferences

Calling all small Delmarva farmers interested in learning more about sustainable practices and focused on growing for the local market. Apply now for the 2018 Historic Lewes Farmers Market scholarship program! Completed applications are due no later than Monday, December 4, 2017.

Several $500 scholarships will be awarded to small Delmarva farmers to attend sustainable farming conferences including these conferences in the mid-Atlantic: the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Annual Farming for the Future Conference held February 7-10, 2018 in State College, PA; Future Harvest CASA Conference held January 11-13, 2018, in College Park, MD; and similar conferences such as the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference held January 30 – February 1, 2018 in Hershey, PA. These conferences draw farmers interested in education about sustainable agriculture practices from a broad section of the east coast, Mid-Atlantic and the South with similar growing conditions to the Delmarva. For more information about the conferences go to,, and

The Historic Lewes Farmers Market has established an emerging women farmers’ scholarship fund in memory of Debra Schaefer who died in August, 2016. It was her family’s wish that this scholarship be established in loving memory of Debra, who was a sustainable farmer in Frankford, Delaware. On the application, please let us know if you are applying for a Debra Schaefer Scholarship.

To be eligible for the scholarships, the Delmarva farmer must:

1)     Currently be developing a sustainable farming enterprise, or currently farming, on the Delmarva.

2)     Currently operate a small farm (low-sales) as defined by the ERS (Economic Research Service) for the United States Department of Agriculture (less than $350,000 gross in agricultural sales), on the Delmarva, or be able to demonstrate financial need to attend this conference. (Only one applicant per farm, please.)

3)     Currently be a farmer/grower who sells what they grow, raise or produce on their own farm. A farmer/grower may be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation and shall include family members and employees who assist in the production and/or sales/marketing of the farm products.

4)     Commit to attend the HLFM farmer’s workshop held in the spring and share what you learned at the conference so that we may disseminate this information to other farmers.

To receive an application and more information about the scholarships, please call (302) 644-1436 or email Completed applications are due no later than Monday, December 4, 2017. All scholarship applicants will be notified of awards by January 5, 2018.

What Do You Know About Nontraditional Irrigation Water?

Mayhah Roma Suri, Faculty Specialist Agricultural & Resource Economics, University of Maryland;

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers possible nontraditional sources of irrigation water to include recycled, brackish, desalinated, fracking, agricultural runoff, aquaculture, livestock wastewater, and process waters. With funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, CONSERVE: A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food, and Health, a multi-partner project, is focusing on multiple types of nontraditional irrigation water in the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest regions of the United States. The CONSERVE team of researchers, Extension professionals, and educators aim to provide effective on-farm irrigation solutions.

Extension professionals from the University of Maryland and the University of Arizona are conducting a joint needs assessment survey ( among the agricultural community with three goals: 1) assessing prior knowledge of nontraditional water sources; 2) determining concerns; and 3) understanding the most effective outreach methods.

The results of this survey will be used to inform priority areas for CONSERVE researchers as well as direct future educational programming and resource development for farmers in the study areas. If you are a farmer in the Mid-Atlantic or Southwest and would like to take the survey, you can find it here:

This survey is open to all individuals who are at least 18 years old. To learn more about CONSERVE, please visit the website at: and Visiting Cover Crop Demonstration Sites

Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist;

UD and DSU currently have sites set up for anyone to come and visit cover crop demonstrations. These sites have different cover crop species and planting dates to evaluate cover crop growth and development. These sites are listed online at, which include the locations as well as a description of what has been planted. As these cover crops grow and the cash crops are planted this coming spring, these sites will be available to check on their progress and evaluate them for yourself.

Treating Weeds in Small Grains This Fall

Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist;

This has been a warm and extended fall, which means our winter annual weeds are still actively growing. We still have warm soils which keeps the weeds in an active state. Therefore, you may want to evaluate fields with problem weeds such as annual bluegrass, henbit, or speedwells and consider if a treatment this fall makes sense for you. I find these species are often more susceptible if treated in the fall compared to early spring. Once we have consistently cold weather and soil temperatures drop, then fall treatments will be questionable.

Register for Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School Today!

Jarrod O. Miller, Extension Agronomist,

Registration for the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School is starting to fill up! Registration is currently $285 and will increase to $325 on October 30th. To register, please follow this link

The Princess Royale is currently holding a block of rooms for the event, but the discounted rate ends Friday, October, 20th! Contact the hotel directly at 1-800-4-ROYALE or 410-524-7777 to make your reservation & receive the group rates listed below. Identify yourself as part of Group ID # 4020 or the Crop Management School. Reservations made after Friday, October 20 may not be offered at the group rates listed below and rooms will be subject to availability.

$73 Poolview/Oceanview Suite per night, plus applicable fees & taxes

$93 Oceanfront Suite per night, plus applicable fees & taxes

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jarrod Miller (, Amy Shober (, or Sydney Riggi (