(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker made this statement in response to the House Agriculture Committee's release of its draft of the Farm Bill.
"The House Agriculture Committee's draft 2013 Farm Bill falls far short for the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. This draft actually reduces conservation programs at a time when all of us are asked to do more to reduce pollution. Bay area farmers throughout the six-state watershed have demonstrated their desire to continue to do their part for clean water. But to do so, they need the federal government's commitment to provide adequate resources. Any loss of funding will shortchange our farmers and increase costs for local citizens and governments.
"The bi-partisan Bay Congressional delegation has asked for a stronger farm bill—one that achieves significant conservation gains in areas of critical need like the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Federal support is essential to our farmers' efforts to reduce nutrient and sediment loss from their farms and to achieve the goals of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
"Agricultural conservation practices are the least expensive way to reduce pollution. Investing in these practices puts people to work and pays returns to local economies. We have made progress in reducing pollution but the Bay and many local waterways still don't provide healthy habitat for fish, oysters, and other aquatic life.
"We intend to redouble our efforts to push for a farm bill that adequately helps Bay farmers and protects the Bay and local waterways for the benefit of future generations."