Doing our part for the Bay (Editorial)

Soybean farmers from 12 northern and midwestern states participated in an American Soybean Association "Regional Exchange and Awareness Program" tour of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in early August, hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association. They learned a great deal about the diversity of agriculture in the Mid-Atlantic region. At New Jersey's Vineland Auction, they were told horticulture is the No. 1 agricultural crop in the state. In Maryland, it's No. 2, behind chickens. While touring widespread fields farmed by one family in Pittsgrove, N.J., they passed field production of a number of nurseries. Their final visit was to North Creek Nursery in Landenburg, Pa.
At the opening dinner, a representative of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation laid out the challenge facing everyone in the Bay's watershed — to reduce nutrients that find their way into the bay. Members of the agricultural community in all four states on the tour shared what farmers and growers of many commodities are doing toward that effort.
What happens here — so far as regulations — may someday affect your farming operation, the visitors were told.
Many of the operations they visited had to do with the poultry industry, since chickens consume most of the soybeans grown in the area.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, in a meeting with poultry farmers on Aug. 20, said, "Farmers, including poultry farmers, are leaders in soil and water conservation as shown on our BayStat Website. Agriculture, along with wastewater treatment plant upgrades, are the two bay restoration sectors that are moving ahead and reaching our two-year milestones while septic systems and stormwater impacts are not. I congratulate and thank all of our farmers for their accomplishments.”
The nursery industry, also, has instituted best management practices to protect our water resources, and is to be commended for its efforts.
The eyes of the world are upon us as we do our part to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.