FREDERICK, Md. – Frederick County farmers and agricultural crop producers may apply for Farmer Relief Grants starting Wednesday, June 15, to help offset the rapidly rising cost of fertilizer. Executive Jan Gardner announced June 9 that $2.4 million of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funds had been set aside for the one-time grants.
Supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have forced fertilizer prices to rise significantly. The cost to fertilize a single acre of corn is averaging around $256, up from $101.87 an acre a year ago, depending on the types of fertilizer a soil requires. Urea ammonium nitrate prices have risen more than 267% in the past year. In some places, the rising costs have led farmers to leave their fields fallow, which may lead to other shortages for consumers in the months ahead.
“We need our farmers to continue growing crops,” Executive Gardner said. “This grant is designed to keep fields in production, even as the cost of doing business has more than doubled.”
Eligible farmers and agriculture crop producers will be able to apply for an anticipated $20 for every acre that produces harvestable crops to help cover the cost of fertilizer. To be eligible, an applicant:
- Must be a full-time farmer and have earned a majority of their income during the past two years from farming;
- Must own or lease land located in Frederick County;
- Have planted, or plan to plant crops during this calendar year. Farms are also eligible if they grow crops that are not planted annually yet require the outlay of fertilizer;
- Must have purchased fertilizer since January 1, 2022;
- Must be in good standing with the IRS, the State of Maryland and Frederick County Government, and comply with human rights laws; and
- Must allow the County to work with the local Farm Service Agency to verify information about planted acreage.
Applications will be accepted online through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 15. Additional details and the application portal can be found at www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/FarmerRelief. Questions should be directed to Jaclyn Bryant in the Frederick County Office of Economic Development at JBryant@FrederickCountyMD.gov or by calling 301-600-1053.