In a new report, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation calls on farms in the bay’s watershed to “urgently accelerate and scale up” their conservation and Bay cleanup efforts.
The full report can be found here.
The report notes that tat farmers can convert conventional farmland to rotationally grazed pastures, which builds soil health, and planting permanent forested stream-side buffers, which filter sediment and fertilizer that would otherwise flow into the bay–these efforts can have an impact on bay heatlh.
The report says that installing 190,500 acres of forest buffers by 2025 could remove more than 173,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Other best management practices recommended by the report include reducing tillage, planting cover crops to reduce erosion and soak up fertilizer, and reducing overapplications of nutrients. Taking such steps can also “help farmers cut costs and make their farms more resilient to environmental and economic shocks by increasing yields, reducing the need for costly inputs like fertilizers and pesticides, and buffering the impacts of extreme weather.”
The report calls on federal lawmakers to increase funding for agricultural conservation programs and technical assistance, and it calls for reinvigorating the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), a state-federal partnership — administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency and its Natural Resources Conservation Service.