Agriculture is a main industry in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, essential to provide food for the millions who live here. Farmers, large and small, are of fundamental importance to our economy and our wellbeing. Farmers are the primary caretakers of our land. Its fertility and its sustainability are entrusted to their expert management.
The land includes soil and waters. Streams and rivers and aquifers provide irrigation for agricultural crops. Those same streams carry away the excess water that flows off the fields, especially at times of heavy rain and they are at times recipients of waste water from farm operations or grazing animals. Agricultural “non-point source” pollution is a major contributor to the problems of the Chesapeake Bay.
Farmers are increasingly aware that they can and must take steps to protect the water, to keep the streams clean, for it is this same water that provides for the thirst of their neighbors and themselves and ultimately provides for the needs of the entire watershed and the Bay.
Agriculturalists have developed methods that can be used to minimize runoff of nutrients and sediment into streams. Implementing these Best Management Practices (BMPs) is supported by educational outreach and subsidies to defray some of the additional costs.
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