By: Sarah Fielder
Hans Schmidt, the Assistant Secretary for Resource Conservation at the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), will speak about nutrient management at the upcoming Agriculture and Environmental Law conference. The conference will be held on Friday, November 17, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland. To register visit http://go.umd.edu/aleiconf.
“I never dreamt I would be in this job,” said Schmidt. “It was never on my radar, and I was flattered when I was asked to consider this job. I want to do my job and whatever we can to help farmers be productive, making sure agriculture has a seat at the table.”
Schmidt oversees the state’s resource conservation program and the policy implementation of conservation practices on agricultural ground. Schmidt said there are five components to his job, including policy and program development, district operations including soil conservation, the cost share program, the watershed implementation program, and regulating nutrient management.
“There are extra steps farmers must take because we are in the Chesapeake watershed,” said Schmidt. “Nutrient management can be a benefit in many ways; it can help water quality, it spells out what and how farmers can apply resources to their land, and how many resources each crop needs.”
According to Schmidt, knowing the quantity of resources such as nutrients or fertilizer a farmer needs for each crop enables them to spend less money.
“You [farmers] have an impact on water quality, and there are ways to improve it and supply food to the public who need it to survive,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt is a third generation farmer from Sudlersville, Maryland. His family mostly raised livestock, including hogs and beef, and grew hay. His family’s farm is approximately 2,000 acres and currently grows corn, soybeans, tomatoes, green beans, and wine grapes.
“I originally got involved with the soil conservation board in Queen Anne’s County and worked up to a leadership position at the state level,” said Schmidt. He also was the Maryland soil conservation representative on the national level for four years.
At the conference, Schmidt will give an update on some nutrient management regulations that changed last year. He also will discuss what farmers can expect when going through an audit and what MDA inspectors look for during inspections, which generally take place every five to six years. The MDA tries to make it as painless as possible, looking to make sure farmers are in compliance with regulations, according to Schmidt.
Learn more from Schmidt at the third annual Agriculture and Environmental Law conference by registering now at http://go.umd.edu/aleiconf.