Applications Accepted January 10 - February 18, 2022:  Plant the buffer that works for you!

Maryland's Conservation Buffer Initiative

Back by popular demand, Maryland's Conservation Buffer Initiative provides farmers with attractive incentive payments to plant streamside buffers on farms to protect water quality.

New for 2022, farmers can receive up to $4,500 an acre to install riparian forest buffers with pasture fencing!  Financial assistance is also available to install deer fencing next to grass buffers.  Other features include a buffer option for field ditches, flexible site management, and shorter contract terms.

Three types of buffers are eligible for funding and free technical assistance from local soil conservation districts:  riparian forest buffers, grass buffers planted next to waterways or field ditches, and watercourse access control areas adjacent to pastures.

  • Payment rates range from $500/acre for an existing grass buffer to a maximum of $4,500/acre to install a riparian forest buffer with pasture fencing.

  • Financial assistance is offered to install deer fencing next to grass buffers.

  • Mowing and hay harvesting are allowed; nutrient applications are NOT.

  • Farmers receive a one-time payment for enrolled land; contracts are for 5 or 10 years.

  • All work must be completed by June 30, 2023.     

How to Apply:  Go to for application forms and eligibility criteria (including payment options).  You can email your application or send it by mail.  Applications are accepted January 10 - February 18, 2022.  For free assistance in Allegany County, contact ASCD's MDA Planner, Seth Metheny, at 240-609-3503 or by email at

Do you need a permit?

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has revised and updated its Farmer's Guide to Environmental Permits.  The Guide serves as a quick reference to help farmers, businesses and individuals comply with Maryland's environmental regulations.  It includes state authorizations issued by the Maryland Departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources.  A commonly needed federal approval, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' 404 permit, is also included.  The newly revised Farmer's Guide to Environmental Permits is available here.

Farmer's Guide to Environmental Permits.