Chesapeake Bay Commission Report on Supporting Farmers in Cleanup Efforts

The Chesapeake Bay Commission has released a report on how to better support farmers in their efforts to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution damaging local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.

“Farmers have been — and will continue to be — critical to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and the thousands of miles of local streams and rivers that provide the Bay’s life-blood of clean water,” according to the report. “Since the beginning of the  restoration effort, farmers working with agricultural conservation professionals have planted cover crops, practiced no-till crop management, established and maintained streamside buffers, and performed a litany of other conservation measures at an unprecedented scale. Their work is now paying the dividend of cleaner water.
“But in spite of its considerable efforts to date, the agricultural community needs to do more if we are to restore local and Bay water quality. And we must assist farmers by making tools available to them to help them do the job.
For years, conversations among the Chesapeake Bay Commission members, state and federal agricultural agency staff, and — most importantly — farmers have included a steady drumbeat about the importance, yet insufficient
availability, of agricultural technical assistance.”

Without that increased assistance, Pennsylvania agriculture is likely not to meet its 2025 nutrient and sediment reduction goals.

“With the overwhelming amount of reliance on agriculture to help clean up the Bay, there simply aren’t enough ‘boots on the ground’ to provide the help needed to farmers to get the job done,” said Commission Chairman Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming). “Our report is the first of its kind to answer the question of what farmers need and how we can meet that need. As work on national Farm Bill gears up in Washington, its release could not have been better timed.”

Read the full report here.

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