(HARRISBURG, PA)—The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced yesterday that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) will receive more than $850,000 to promote rotational grazing (also known as prescribed grazing) in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. Rotational grazing enhances soil health, protects and improves water quality, and contributes to a farm's economic viability.
The grant will be matched by $850,000 in partner funding.
In Pennsylvania, Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties will be targeted under the grant. Partners in the Commonwealth include Capital Resource Conservation and Development Area Council, the Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Penn State University, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).
In Maryland, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Montgomery, Washington counties will be targeted. Partners include the Maryland Grazers' Network—a collaboration of CBF, University of Maryland Extension and NRCS—as well as local Conservation Districts, Maryland/Delaware Forage Council, and Future Harvest-Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture.
In Virginia, Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham counties will be targeted. Partners include the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Forestry, and NRCS.
Regionally, the goal of the grant is to transition 30 farms, including 1,700 acres of farmland, to grazing. This would reduce more than 82,000 pounds of nitrogen, more than 7,000 pounds of phosphorus, and 656 tons of sediment pollution annually.
In addition, the grant includes the formation of a steering committee of project partners to strengthen the partnership and facilitate information exchange, expanding opportunities for peer-to-peer dialog, and developing outreach materials that highlight the economic and soil health benefits of grazing.
Following the announcement, Beth McGee, CBF's Director of Science and Agricultural Policy issued this statement.
"CBF has been involved with rotational grazing for more than 30 years. It has been demonstrated to reduce polluted runoff, reduce a farm's feed and labor costs, and significantly benefit soil health. Improved soil health makes the farm more resilient to extreme weather as well as helping capture carbon that otherwise would contribute to climate change.
"Converting farms to rotational grazing is a significant part of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, and the Bay states have only achieved 18 percent of the 2025 goals."