(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Alison Prost, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), issued this statement today following the announcement by the Natural Resources Conservation Service that CBF received a Regional Conservation Partnership (RCPP) award to funnel $1.1 million worth of conservation practices to Maryland livestock farmers. The money will go to farmers who want to convert their operations to grazing systems, raising animals on pasture, rather than in confined areas.
"Putting livestock back on pasture, as farmers did for generations, is one of the best means for restoring both farm profits and clean water. Pasture-raised animals are generally healthier, input costs are lower, and farmers are often paid a premium for selling "grass-fed" products. Converting cropland to pasture means less potential runoff of fertilizer and manure to local streams."
"This is great news for farmers needing a boost to put their animals out to pasture. Our local creeks also will be cleaner as a result of this significant investment in Maryland sustainable agriculture.
"Funds also will help landowners who voluntarily want to put deed restrictions on their farms to protect them from future development, and who want to permanently protect stream-side forests."
Editor's note: Sign up for the funds should be available by the fall of 2017. CBF, our project partners, and the Maryland Grazers' Network encourage any farmers interested in learning more about grazing or wanting to apply for these funds to contact Rob Schnabel at 443-482-2175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.