How to Get Pennsylvania Farmers to Save the Chesapeake Bay


Holstein and Jersey crossbreeds graze on American Farm Land Trust's Cove Mountain Farm in south-central Pennsylvania.

Bob Nichols/USDA

The following opinion by Will Baker was first published in The Baltimore Sun.

To save the Chesapeake Bay, we must focus on Pennsylvania. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland understands this. It's why Senator Cardin is asking for $2.2 million in federal earmark money be directed to Pennsylvania farmers to reduce agricultural pollution—a move The Baltimore Sun applauded in a recent editorial ("Earmarks are not always pork, sometimes they are critical to getting difficult things done," July 9).

Marylanders will get their bang for the buck in the form of cleaner water flowing down the Susquehanna River which contributes more than 50% of the fresh water into the Chesapeake Bay and the highest amount of pollution. Hammering home this interstate cooperation, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania is seeking additional funds to complement Senator Cardin's funding request to demonstrate how a polluted watershed in his state can be restored to health. Good!

But there is now an opportunity for an even greater push at the federal and state level to ensure Pennsylvania fully meets its 2025 Bay cleanup goals. The Keystone State's plan to reduce pollution is underfunded by about $300 million per year. There has been little interest in the state legislature to help farmers implement the practices known to reduce polluted runoff.

Pennsylvania has thousands of miles of their own polluted streams. The same pollution fouls the bay downstream.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture can help. It can fund tried and true conservation practices through the existing Farm Bill. The project Senator Cardin proposed is an example of what needs to be done, but we need more. We need to invest hundreds of millions of dollars across central Pennsylvania. And these federal dollars should be bolstered by state investments.

The bay is a national treasure—the crown jewel of the world's estuaries. Saving the bay can be a national and international model of restoring a complex environmental system's health after two centuries of pollution and environmental destruction.

Let's get the job done. Now!


William C. Baker

Past President, CBF

Issues in this Post

Runoff Pollution   Agriculture  


The views and opinions expressed in the media or articles on this site are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by CBF and the inclusion of such information does not imply endorsement by CBF. CBF is not responsible for the contents of any linked Website, or any link contained in a linked Website, or any changes or updates to such Websites. The inclusion of any link is provided only for information purposes.

The Bay Needs You

The State of the Bay Report makes it clear that the Bay needs our support now more than ever. Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

Donate Today


Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or advocating for a clean Bay, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

This website uses cookies to tailor and enhance your online experience. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, including details on how to disable cookies, please visit our Privacy Policy. Close