Today, Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Hilary Falk, joined EPA Region III director Adam Ortiz, Kyle Kotzmoyer with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, as well as elected officials from the Commonwealth to discuss advances made in the Pennsylvania budget.
Pennsylvania’s budget for fiscal year 2022-23 is breaking new ground, for the first time providing significant cost-share funding to farmers. Funding for conservation practices will reduce runoff from farm fields and improve water quality in local rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay.
Included in the budget is a new Clean Streams Fund that includes a $220 million comprehensive funding package to address the top sources of stream pollution in the state. About $154 million of the fund is dedicated toward a new cost-share Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP).
More than 90 percent of the Commonwealth’s remaining pollution reductions must come from agriculture. ACAP will provide county conservation districts additional resources to help farmers design and help pay the costs of implementing conservation practices.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Hilary Falk issued this statement.
“This new funding is a tremendous step toward bringing clean water to Pennsylvanians and the Bay downstream. It is also a victory for the many farmers and boots on the ground who have worked for years to implement agricultural conservation practices.
“Pennsylvania farmers have shown they are willing to invest their time, land, and limited funds to clean and protect local rivers and streams. The landmark investments in this budget will give them added financial and technical resources to reduce polluted runoff, increase farm sustainability, and get the Commonwealth back on track toward meeting its clean water commitments.
“CBF thanks State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) and State Representative Johnathan Hershey (R-Juniata) for championing bipartisan legislation to create the Clean Streams Fund and ACAP. CBF is also proud to have joined the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences in designing the ACAP legislation. We look forward to working with the State Conservation Commission to implement this important program. We also appreciate all Pennsylvanians who spoke up for their rivers and streams.
“CBF looks forward to building on the momentum and the partnerships created during these efforts to increase investments in clean water and healthy communities. Pennsylvania truly is the keystone to clean water across the Chesapeake region. While more work remains, today we are more hopeful than ever that success is within reach.”
Editors’ note: more information on ACAP can be found at Agricultural Cost-Share in Pennsylvania - Chesapeake Bay Foundation (cbf.org)