Maryland has approved 550,000 acres of winter grains to date in its cover crop program, governor says; they were requested by a record 1,767 farmers

VIENNA, Maryland , August 16, 2011 () – It's a record year for cover crop program enrollment in Maryland's coming season.

Gov. Martin O'Malley announced the milestone Tuesday at the Lazy Days Farm in Vienna.

Cover crops help the Chesapeake Bay. Small grains such as wheat, rye or barley that are planted in the fall help absorb nutrients. They also help control soil erosion and protect water quality.

Maryland has approved 550,000 acres of winter grains to date in the cover crop program. They were requested by a record 1,767 farmers, with about 206 farmers who are new to the program this year.

Cover crops are planted in the fall after the autumn harvest.

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