AmericanFarm.com

Enviro-activists slow to credit ag (Editorial)

(July 15, 2014) This needs to be known and publicly proclaimed. Underline it, put it in bold face.
It probably won’t make a difference, but do it anyway.
The most recent analysis by the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program office shows that Maryland is on target to meet the 2025 Bay restoration goals.
In fact, Maryland farmers are ahead of schedule in reducing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.
Even the Maryland Department of the Environment is impressed.
“Our farmers have a long and proud tradition of environmental stewardship,” boasted MDE Secretary Bob Summers.
Even more progress will be recorded for agriculture once the Bay Model is updated to reflect current land use, livestock production and BMP use, he said.
The Bay Model apparently is the key to opening up the Bay’s secrets.
The EPA report outlines the success of Maryland farmers in the nutrient reduction effort and spotlights many of the flaws in the Bay Model.
Maryland Ag Secretary Earl “Buddy” Hance has called on the EPA to update the model in three ways: (1) Recognize and credit the BMPs that farmers are already implementing but are not currently counted; (2) Provide credit for new and innovative BMPs and technology in use but not counted (11 out of 36 BMPs); and (3) Use up-to-date data about crops and livestock — not data from 1995 that is misleading and allows EPA to conclude we will miss the mark in 2025.
In the wake of the release of the EPA report, Valerie Connell, executive director of the Maryland Farm Bureau, took off the gloves.
In a verbal blast seldom, if ever, heard in the whole history of the Bay clean-up effort, Connelly, in effect, told Bay environmental activists to get out of town.
Cut this out and paste it on the fridge.
Connelly first called upon “the environmental lobby and the candidates in the upcoming elections to recognize and give credit to farmers for all we have achieved.
“We have consistently been ahead of schedule in Bay clean up progress reports — to the tune of 130 percent in some years,” she said. “We have demonstrated our commitment.
“It’s time for the out-of-state environmental cottage industry that has set up here in Maryland to pack up and move on.
“They should stop targeting our poultry and livestock farms and discard their ridiculous calls for taxing the industry out of business.
“Maryland farmers are environmental stewards, we are sustainable and we are providing the locally grown products that are in such demand here in our state.”
Amen,Valerie, amen.