On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau hosted a news conference, addressing the significant role farmers are playing to maintain and improve land and water resources. "Farmers are proactively caring for our land and water resources," notes PFB President Carl Shaffer.
Farmers [and their families] drink the water and breathe the air on their farms and are committed to being good stewards. That's why PFB is concerned that some people may have the wrong impression of agriculture due to inaccurate claims and misinformation about environmental practices and how farms are regulated.
The reality is that farms are heavily regulated and farmers are committed to conservation improvements. In fact, a recent report from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) revealed that 96% of farmers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have implemented erosion control practices on cropland acres in production. And, sediment contributions from cultivated cropland to the Bay's rivers and streams have been reduced by 64%, while phosphorus was reduced by 43% and nitrogen reduced by 36%.
Advances in research and technology have also sparked productivity and efficiency on the farm. "With global positioning systems, we have reduced the use of chemical compounds in our fields and orchards," noted Shaffer. "Improvements in technology have allowed us to use fewer pesticides on weeds and pest-resistant crops.
"Agricultural research is generating even more remarkable practices. It will enable the production of more food on less land with even fewer impacts on soil and water resources."Pennsylvania farmers have helped pioneer conservation programs by embracing practices that benefit the environment. For example, the commonwealth enacted the first nutrient management program in the country. Pennsylvania farmers also lead the nation in the use of no-till cultivation to reduce land erosion and water runoff.