Wednesday, October 5, 2016

PA Farmers Get $28 Million for 'Bay Diet'

Pennsylvania, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced they will spend $28 million on aid directly to farmers as well as technical assistance specifically in southcentral Pennsylvania.

The money will help Lancaster farmers avoid potential penalties from state and federal agencies for not having some required pollution-reduction plans — farming is blamed for widespread death of aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay, the country's largest estuary.

The funding announcement brought immediate approval from the Maryland-based Chesapeake Bay Foundation conservation group, which champions anti-pollution efforts.
. . .
Thompson said staff is urging local farmers “to pursue funding. Get in line now.”
That financial aid may now be coming.

“While some farmers are willing to install conservation practices that will reduce pollution, many are turned away every year because of a lack of resources available to assist them,” Campbell said.

“This new federal and state funding will allow more farmers in the Commonwealth to plant streamside buffers, reduce runoff from barnyards, get the required management plans, and other measures critical to the health of Pennsylvania waters and the Chesapeake Bay.”

DEP estimates as many as 70 percent of farms in Pennsylvania don’t have required management plans.
The farmers need help to come into compliance with the 'Bay Diet' mandates, seeing as they are being blamed for an outsized share of Chesapeake Bay's pollution. I just hope the majority of this will be spent on actual improvements rather than more paperwork. I'm not optimistic.

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