Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District provides technical and financial assistance to landowners in order to support agricultural landowners and operators in making environmentally sound management decisions that are also economically viable. 

Conservation Planning

Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plans are documents prepared by a Soil Conservation District that provide an overview of a landowner’s operation.  Each plan is designed to provide information specific to the landowner regarding the operation, resource concerns, program involvement, and interest in best management practice installation.  Plans provide an account of the farm’s operation in order to assist the landowner in making farming decisions that aid the health of natural resources as well as provide economic security to the landowner.

Conservation plans are voluntary unless the farm falls within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, the owner is applying for or currently participates in an agricultural land preservation program, or the owner or operator participates in state or federal cost share programs.

Conservation Plans are composed of:

1.  Aerial photo of the farm which includes property boundaries, current and proposed Best Management Practices, and additional resource items that pertain to the individual

2.  A map of soil types and boundaries

3.  A written record of the landowner’s management decisions with a plan for implementation

4.  Soil descriptions and capability classes relaying suitability for cropland, forestland, wildlife habitat as well as any intended practices

You must be a Cooperator with the Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District to receive a Conservation Plan.  

Conservation Practices may assist landowners in appropriately managing the resources on their land. 

Click here to view a list of Conservation Practices.

Federal Programs
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides cost share to qualifying landowners which pays for a percentage of conservation practices a landowner establishes.  Cost share is available through several programs NRCS administers.  Program names and descriptions are below. 

Agricultural Management Assistance Program (AMA) 

Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) provides cost share assistance to agricultural producers who voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations. Producers may construct or improve water management structures or irrigation structures; plant trees for windbreaks or to improve water quality; and mitigate risk through production diversification or resource conservation practices, including soil erosion control, integrated pest management, or transition to organic farming.

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP & CREP)

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides technical and financial assistance to eligible landowners to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner.  CRP encourages landowners to convert highly erodible cropland and other environmentally sensitive areas to permanent cover, such as introduced native grassses, trees, filter strips, riparian forest buffers, wetlands, and shallow water habitats. 

Conservation Reserve Program (CREP) State Program Info

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

CSP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to promote the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes on working lands. Working lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pasture, and range land, as well as forested land that is an incidental part of an agriculture operation.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

EQIP objectives, as stated in the 2002 Farm Bill, are to promote agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals, and to optimize environmental benefits. EQIP provides assistance to producers to install and maintain conservation practices that enhance soil, water, and related natural resources, while sustaining production of food and fiber.

Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)

The Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP) provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses. Working through existing programs, USDA partners with State, tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations to acquire conservation easements or other interests in land from landowners. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the fair market easement value of the conservation easement.

Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)

The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property. Section 2401 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-171) amended the Food Security Act of 1985 to authorize this program.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)

The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. Through WHIP USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service provides both technical assistance and cost-share assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat.

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program to restore and protect wetlands on private property. It is an opportunity for landowners to receive financial incentives to enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal agricultural land.

WRP in Maryland (Factsheet)

State Programs
In 1998 the Maryland General Assembly passed landmark legislation that places Maryland at the forefront of national efforts to protect water quality. The Water Quality Improvement Act is designed to protect the health of Maryland's citizens and its waterways by establishing both short and long-term strategies for reducing nutrient levels in our streams, rivers and Chesapeake Bay.  Landowners may apply for financial assistance to help pay for the cost of a Nutrient Management Plan.
For a price comparison of soil testing labs, click here
Cover Crop Program

Cover crops improve soil productivity and protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Planted after the fall harvest, cover crops help absorb unused plant nutrients remaining in the soil and prevent erosion over the winter months. The Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost Share (MACS) Program provides monetary support to farmers who plant cover crops of wheat, rye, barley or other small grains following the fall harvest of summer crops.

Structure Design
AASCD is available to design conservation practice structures for those Cooperators interested in installing a structural best management practice (BMP) on their land.  An AASCD Technician will discuss placement of the BMP with the landowner before surveying for the structure.  Once the survey is complete, our Agricultural Engineer will design the structure and will provide the landowner with the design, a list of materials, and a price estimate, all of which may be provided to the contractor of choice.  AASCD requests a good faith deposit on waste storage structures and pond designs due to the length of time required to complete a survey and design for these structures.  The deposit is returned to the landowner once the practice is complete.  See below for a list of contractors and good faith deposit forms.  Please contact our office if you would like your name to be added or removed from our list of contractors.  

List of Contractors  

Pond Good Faith Deposit Form  

Waste Storage Structure Good Faith Deposit Form

Horse Owners
Help the AASCD cater to the needs and interests of horse owners by filling out our Horse Survey.  The more we know about horse operations in our area the more relevant our programs will be to horse operators in the area.  Completed forms can be mailed, faxed, emailed, or brought into our office.
Soil Testing Information 
AASCD does not provide soil sampling or testing services through our office, but sampling soil is one of the best starting points in agricultural resource management.  Soil testing provides landowners with information about the amount of nutrients available in soil that plants need to survive as well as the amount and which kind of nutrients that should be applied to the soil.  It is recommended that soil be tested at least every three years for proper resource management.  Please see below for a list of soil testing labs and soil sampling directions.
Forestry Information 

The County Forester and private Forestry Consultants are available to prepare Forestry Plans and develop management strategies for the wooded portion of your farm.  The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides a list of private Forestry Consultants. Click here to view the Forestry Consultant list provided by MD DNR.