January 26, 2011
Workshops Offer Resources for
Ag Compliance Workshops, Water Quality
Being Held February 17, March 3, and March 10
(LANCASTER, PA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and partners are hosting three workshops in the Lancaster area designed to assist farmers and rural landowners in improving local stream quality.
The first workshop will be held on February 17th from noon to 3:30 p.m. at the Hoffman Building, Solanco Fairgrounds, in Quarryville.
The key speaker at all three, Dr. Bernard Sweeney, Director of the Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, PA, brings a promising message of restoration for waterways that flow through Lancaster County, as well as economic and environmental "services" that healthy streams offer landowners and communities. Dr. Sweeney draws on a lifetime of past and current research on streams and rivers throughout the world.
"We know that the Chesapeake Bay is only as healthy as its tributary streams," said Sweeney. "We also know that healthy streams, both now and in the past, are typically bordered by trees and have lots of trees in their watershed. Current science shows that the strategic placement of trees along streams can enable land use such as farms, houses, and businesses in a watershed without loss of stream health or water quality."
Lamont Garber, Agricultural Manager for CBF's Pennsylvania office will also speak at all three workshops to provide an update on EPA's pollution diet for the Chesapeake Bay, and to discuss resources to help farmers comply with Pennsylvania regulations. CBF is a private, non-governmental organization which has helped over 4,000 Pennsylvania landowners improve their streams, typically at a significant profit to the landowner.
"Streams flowing through our farms and communities tie us together, connect us to our downstream neighbors, and reflect how we use the land," said Garber. "Traditionally a place where families could fish, relax, and enjoy nature, the condition of our streams now brings worries to some households who hear about pollution problems and regulations tied to the Chesapeake Bay. The goal of these workshops is to discuss tools and opportunities for financial and hands-on assistance to farmers grappling with clean water requirements."
Robert Munson, Veterinarian at the University of Pennsylvania, will also speak at the first meeting and will focus on techniques for improving dairy feed efficiency and profitability.
The second workshop will take place on March 3rd from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.at Yoder's Restaurant in New Holland, with the final workshop taking place on March 10th from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM at the Paradise Township Community Bldg., at Paradise Park.
Jerry Martin with Penn State Cooperative Extension will join Sweeney and Garber for the March workshops. Mr. Martin will share his ideas on how producers can make low cost improvements to "Animal Heavy Use Areas"—those bare spots and loafing areas around barnyards and pastures that can be a liability for the farm.
Plain Sect farmers who attend any of the workshops will hear information on a new "Buffer Bonus Program" which provides up to $20,000 to a farmer to be used to install conservation practices that are good for the farm and good for the stream. Farmers earn these funds when they agree to have a contractor plant trees in buffers along their stream using the Conservation Reserve Enhancement (CREP) program.
CREP covers costs for trees, fencing, crossings and watering systems and provides funds to help pay for maintenance of the buffer. For every acre of streamside trees planted, the Buffer Bonus Program pays $4,000 toward other conservation practices chosen by the farmer. Moreover, CREP rents the buffered land from the landowner for fifteen years, offering a new revenue stream for land that is often less productive.
The meetings are open to the public at no cost, but registration is requested with free lunch provided by Hess BBQ or Yoder's. Contact Lamont Garber at 717-576-3287 OR mail a note with name, date of workshop attending, and the number attending to: Lamont Garber, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 614 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.