Agriculture

Photo courtesy NRCS MarylandPhoto courtesy NRCS Maryland

Farming's Critical Role in Keeping Our Waters Clean

Farming and a healthy farm economy play a critical role in local communities, in the social fabric of the region, and in the water quality of our rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. But the future of farming across the Chesapeake Bay watershed is precarious. We're losing farms because of sprawling suburban development, diminishing profits, increases in the cost of fuel and other operational expenses, and a steep decrease in the share of consumer food dollars received by farmers.

Preserving farms and open space is essential, because these lands serve as precious natural filters for our water. CBF supports land use programs and policies that slow the loss of farmland and prevent sprawl.

But agricultural lands also contribute nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution to our rivers and streams. CBF continues to advocate for conservation programs to establish on-the-ground projects that limit polluting runoff: stream buffers, cover crops, rotational grazing, and other "best management practices."

These agricultural measures are the most cost-effective way to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution to the Bay. In fact, scientists estimate that we could achieve almost two-thirds of the nitrogen and phosphorus reductions necessary to restore the Chesapeake Bay, at only 13 percent of the total cost of Bay restoration, by implementing them.


Be sure to check out our series of farmer success stories across the watershed.


Watershed-wide, farmers are willing to adopt these conservation and preservation measures, and they are making progress. But they can't do it alone. Federal and state government investments in conservation practices, like the federal Farm Bill, can help farmers reduce pollution, remain profitable, and improve water quality for everyone.

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Meet Some Bay-Friendly Farmers

VA Farmer Buff Showalter. Photo by Bobby Whitescarver.

Ask most farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed about water quality and they will tell you clean streams and a clean Chesapeake are important to them. Meet just a few who are implementing Best Management Practices that restore our waters and improve farm earnings and productivity. Read their stories on our blog!

In the News

09.20.16 - USDA funding would help farmers clean Bay

09.19.16 - CBF calls for five PA counties to jumpstart cleanup

09.16.16 - Foundation requesting $20 million for Susquehanna

09.15.16 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation calls for $20 million to fight pollution in Susquehanna River basin

09.14.16 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation calls for $20 million in farm remediation

09.13.16 - York County targeted for its river pollution

09.13.16 - Boost federal aid to PA farmers, group urges

09.13.16 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation urges York County to reduce pollution

09.13.16 - Franklin County targeted for Bay pollution

09.08.16 - Farmers take boating trip along Chesapeake Bay

09.06.16 - VA middle schools embrace agriscience education, FFA

09.03.16 - Future Harvest CASA Receives Grant for Beginning Farmers

08.12.16 - Senator sees results from conservation funding

08.07.16 - PA's 'reboot' strategy to improve water quality off to slow start

07.22.16 - Can what's good for the Chesapeake reap benefits for farms?

07.06.16 - State proposes to ease fall fertilizer restrictions on farmers

07.06.16 - Hogan administration eyes relaxing Maryland farm pollution regulation

07.05.16 - Pennsylvania lags on Chesapeake Bay clean-up

07.05.16 - Program looks at the benefit of stream buffers in area farming

06.30.16 - Maryland weighs delay, changes in farm pollution regulation

06.08.16 - Local farmers help save the Bay

06.08.16 - Video Virginia farmers pitching in to purify waterways

05.09.16 - Benefits of soil health extend beyond farm

Creating Jobs,
Saving the Bay

See how Terra-Gro, Inc. in Terre Hill, Pennsylvania, is creating jobs and saving the Bay through its innovative and environmentally friendly composting system. This project not only restores our waters, but creates 10,000 jobs in the process!

Terra-Gro, Inc.

Find out more about the economic importance of cleaning up our waters.

Programs & Initiatives

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
CBF is a partner in this program, which provides funding for Pennsylvania landowners to make their streamside property or farmland more conservation-friendly. Learn More

Buffer Bonus Program
This CBF incentive program enables CREP participants to implement other water-quality enhancing changes on their farms. Learn More

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In the meantime, join the Bay-friendly conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

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