Sen. Carper Highlights Report Detailing Positive Impact of Farm Bill Conservation Practices on Chesapeake Bay Watershed
WILMINGTON, DE – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) highlighted a new report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which shows voluntary conservation practices being adopted by Chesapeake Bay farmers have led to a drastic reduction in nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment leaving cropland.
Throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed since 2006, runoff levels have decreased 26 percent for nitrogen, 46 percent for phosphorus, and about 60 percent for eroded soil. Through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), the report noted the majority of the conservation practices we made possible by the Farm Bill, now expired.
“I’m incredibly proud of all the work Delaware farmers do to not only help feed the world but also for their efforts to be true environmental stewards for themselves, their neighbors, and future generations,” said Sen. Carper. “USDA’s report shows what my Chesapeake Bay colleagues and I have known for a long time – agriculture conservation practices work and are crucial for the clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay. That is why we have fought so hard to ensure the federal government continues to invest in these projects – and why we support the Senate Farm Bill language that continues these investments in the Bay. I urge my colleagues to work in a bipartisan fashion so we can pass a Farm Bill that will continue funding conservation practices like these because when we all work toward a common goal, together we can generate results and continue to improve the environmental and economic health of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and areas like it all across this country.”
Sen. Carper has long supported the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative, a program launched in 2008 that helps direct funding to priority watersheds and conservation practices that would have the biggest impact on overall watershed health. And as Governor of Delaware, Sen. Carper started a nutrient management commission, bringing together the agriculture, government and science communities to work together to tackle conservation issues.
In Delaware, nearly $8.9 million has gone toward the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative to help properly store poultry manure, apply best nutrient management practices, reduce pesticide use, and increase proper irrigation water management practices. All of these practices implemented by farmers reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering Delaware’s streams and ditches.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed touches six states and is home to 17 million people and almost 84,000 farms and ranches. Agriculture contributes about $10 billion annually to the region’s economy. Conservation practices have other environmental benefits, such as sequestering carbon and making farms more resilient to extreme weather events linked to climate change.
To learn more about the USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project, please click here.