(HARRISBURG, PA) –This afternoon, several Pennsylvania state legislators, their staff, and clean water advocates participated in a webinar hosted by the Choose Clean Water Coalition and PennFuture. The webinar highlighted the need for state funding to help Pennsylvania’s farmers implement conservation practices on their land. The Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP), would create an agricultural cost-share program to help farmers employ sound conservation practices such as installing fencing to keep livestock out of waterways, properly storing manure, planting streamside buffers, and many more. Without these practices on the ground, excess nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants enter local waterways and eventually reach the Chesapeake Bay.
Part of the Clean Streams Fund (SB 832 and HB 1901), ACAP would put funding directly in the hands of farmers to get conservation projects on the ground. Not only will these projects improve local water quality, they will also help the bottom line of farmers and stimulate local economies. Senator Gene Yaw, one of the prime sponsors of the Clean Streams Fund, joined the webinar to encourage his fellow lawmakers to support the legislation.
The webinar also showcased two award-winning videos featuring Pennsylvania dairy farmers. Chris Landis, owner of Worth the Wait Farms and one of the farmers appearing in the videos, spoke about the many benefits of the conservation practices on his farm and the value of increased funding. Representatives from other conservation and agricultural stakeholders also spoke, including Darrin Youker of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Brenda Shambaugh of the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, and Marel King of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. Added King, “Despite having no Bay shoreline, Pennsylvania is tied inextricably to the Chesapeake via the Susquehanna River, the Bay’s largest tributary. Fortunately, actions taken in Pennsylvania to improve the Bay will also benefit the more than 11,000 miles of local streams that face their own nutrient and sediment challenges.”
“We want legislators to know that it is in their community's interest that the Pennsylvania General Assembly provide farmers with the funding they need to ensure healthy farms and, in return, healthy water for all Pennsylvanians” says Ezra Thrush, Senior Director of Government Affairs at PennFuture and moderator of the webinar.
Added Kristin Reilly, Director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition, “We are excited to directly engage and educate legislators about the intrinsic connection of agriculture and water. With farming a vital part of Pennsylvania’s heritage and economy, investing in agricultural cost-share program will support the Keystone State’s hard-working farmers to better steward their land with many positive ripple effects.”
To learn more and watch the videos featured in the webinar, visit www.choosecleanwater.org/keystone-farmers. To see a recording of the webinar, please contact Drew Robinson at RobinsonAQ@nwf.org.
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The Choose Clean Water Coalition is an organization that harnesses the collective power of more than 260 local, state, regional, and national groups to advocate for clean rivers and streams in all communities in the Chesapeake region.
PennFuture is the independent, nonpartisan voice leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations.
Choose Clean Water Coalition