The Potomac Highlands Watershed School 

Stream Cleaner Environmental Forum 2006

Points of View & Thoughtful Questions - Farmers

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Mr. Moore- Environmental Science, Hampshire High School

Thursday, April 13, 2006

AGRICULTURE Our group provides many things for civilization. Farming provides most grocery stores with food. Materials to make clothes are also provided. Farmers will enact the BMPs, but must be compensated for it. The fertilizer put on our fields goes into the ground and is carried then to the streams when it rains. The fertilizer causes the oxygen of the water to decrease rapidly. That in turn causes a loss of fish, oysters, and many habitats. The current solutions provided by the Chesapeake Bay program would help greatly. It would clean the water for fish, oysters, etc and farm animals would also be able to drink the water. It would also provide better looking water for tourists and also for the current residents. Farmers get blamed for most pollution. If we didn’t fertilize our fields, no one in the world would have the food or clothing they like or need. Farmers would like to help fix the problem and/or come up with a better fertilizer so it doesn’t harm so much.

Thoughtful Questions

 From: The Amazing Chesapeake Bay

I have read your point of view. I think that your point of view is good. The only problem I see is that you’re not making an actual point. It is understandable but you need to stay on your topic. I have one question and that would be what is your solution, not the Chesapeake Bay's programs solution?


 The Fantastic Five

Ms. Jenkins- CATS 10, 4th period, Berkeley Springs High School

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

To whom it may concern, As a farmer I believe that people should take better care of the Chesapeake Bay, because it’s a lot healthier for not only my crops but also for the people who drink water. It is a crime to throw trash carelessly and thoughtlessly into the bay. Not only is the bay cluttered with trash, but it also has been eroded, caused by weather. I believe that we should clean out the erosion deposits; it is our responsibility to take good care of the Earth that we live on. That includes the Chesapeake Bay.  


Fantastic Farmers

Doc Harman- Biology, Petersburg

Monday, April 24, 2006

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Cleanup By: Tina Crites Is there a problem with the Chesapeake Bay? Yes, there is. The Bay is polluted by non-point pollution like nitrogen and phosphorus and point pollution like factories and sewage plants. Nitrogen and phosphorus enter the bay by the watershed that reaches for 64,000 square miles. Once in the water the chemicals act as fertilizer and set off the algae blooms. These blooms then block the sunlight from reaching the sea grasses and sea life, while also depriving them of oxygen. Erosion is considered pollution too, the eroding sediment falls into the water and makes the water have a murky look to it. There is a major problem with the Chesapeake Bay area, but with sixteen million people residing in the watershed area, everyone will have to get involved. (1) I am a farmer living and farming in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Every day decisions can turn into enormous and countless problems. I farm in the bay watershed area and what I do to my farm can affect up to 64,000 square miles. I do want to clean up the bay, but farmers are hit really hard by this topic. Crops need fertilizer to grow better and those crops go out to public. I do agree that there is too much fertilizer used on fields and the fertilizer goes into the stream by runoff (2).Of course everyone wants to help, but no one knows where to begin. Farmers are needed in this society, humans could not live without farming or farming products. But one thing is for sure we are killing the living creatures in the sea by our decisions. There are not quick and easy ways to restore the bay. However there are many good solutions. I believe that covering crops is a great way of stopping runoff from fields. Another good solution is to provide buffer strips along your pastures and fields. This prevents large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus from going into the stream. I think that is should be a requirement for farmers that live in the watershed area. I do believe that the government should provide a little money to farmers so they can build plant buffers. Solutions to this problem can be expensive and if a little money was provided more people would help the problem. After all it took many years and many people to create this problem and now I believe that we should fix it. Resources: 1. 2.)

Thoughtful Questions

From: KJPC

You had a lot of great information and great suggestions, but how do you expect to pay for the solutions? If it is your issue, you can't expect others to pay for it.


 Farmer's 101

Dr. Harman- Advanced Bio., Petersburg High School

Monday, April 24, 2006

In my point of view it is not the farmers faults that the bay is polluted today because we are and have been trying to keep pollutions out of the waters for many years now. We have been working with our county extension agents, and the governments to find out what the right chemicals to use on the fields are and what we can’t use because it might be a pollutant and don’t want blamed for it in the long run. I have heard that we are not the problem in the polluting of the bay because we are far enough away that by the time the water reaches the bay it is already naturally filtered by the rocks in the riverbeds. I think that there are a few solutions that I could think of like we could get all farmers to go to a fertilize awareness meeting telling them about when the best times and worst times to fertilize their fields, and what to use and what not. References: Brad Smith, Grant County Extension Agent WVU Extension services


BSMS farmers

Mr. Moore- 2nd block environmental science, Hampshire High School

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Most of America relies on the food that our farms produce. All of the unhealthy water that the farms are creating is harmful to our animals that we live off of. The unhealthy water is not only hurting farm profits but it will also hurt you too. When our farms animals get sick from drinking the unhealthy water then we lose our profit from not being able to sell out meat. If we can’t sell our meat, then what is America suppose to eat. Our farm doesn’t want to have to put out a whole lot of money into buying a fence to stop contamination of the water. If America still wants to have meat to eat then they are going to have to help pay for the equipment that we need. It is not only one farm being hurt by this, it’s everywhere. Our input is so important because the farms of America are the basis of the meat industry. The possible solutions not only affect us but you also. We need everyone’s help to be able to sell America good meat. If we don’t have good meat then the people don’t have any to eat.

Thoughtful Questions

From: Farmer 4

I just finished reading your pov and I agree that there is a problem with the Bay; perhaps you could give some background information as to where the pollutants came from and some solutions, you say there is a problem but you don’t give any suggestions on how to solve it. Also farms don’t just produce meat, perhaps you should look at some other types of farming and give some information on them as well.


From: Fanastic Farmers

I just read your POV.I thought that you had some interesting points. You mentioned that meat is a great source of food for Americans, however you didn't give any solutions on how to keep it healthy. I understand your point, but farming isn't all about livestock. There is produce too. Run-off from crop fields also lead to pollution. I think that you should consider factors other than livestock.


Hampshire Hay Makers

Mr. Moore- 1st Block, Hampshire High School

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Problem: The problem is that fertilizer is getting into the water and killing all of the fish and anything that is in the water. POV: The government is forcing farmers to change their farms by re-fencing many of their streams and rivers so the cows and other agricultural animals stay out of the rivers and streams. To keep sediment and fertilizer out of the river so it does not kill the oysters and fish in the Chesapeake Bay. Over many years the farmers will spend countless amounts of money and time rebuilding fence and reconstruction their property. We the people of Agricultural Community hold these truths that we feed the American population. We the people of the agriculture community will lose a great deal of money therefore driving the prices of the produce sky high. There should also be National Standards but it should be very limited and try to help the farmers as much as possible. The government should help farmers in financing the reconstruction projects in maintain streams and the water qualities.

Thoughtful Questions

From: Fantastic Farmers

I enjoyed reading you POV. I thought that you had a few interesting points. However, I thought that you stressed the money situation a little too much. Money isn't the only problem with the bay. We, the people that live in the watershed area, need to find real solutions to this problem. Money shouldn't be your number one priority with the bay.


From: Petersburg Farm Boy

In my opinion you wrote an interesting article, but I think that the fertilizers are not the major problem. I think the government should pay to teach the farmers when to put fertilizers on their fields and how much at a time.


From: Farmer 4

I had an interesting time reading your pov. It was different. Perhaps you should look at the fact that fertilizer isn’t the only pollutant in the Bay. The fertilizer isn’t killing everything it is actually acting as a “fertilizer” to the algae, among other things, which are harmful to the inhabitants of the Bay. Also you will have to spend money rebuilding your fences anyway, so why does it matter where they are located, on this side of the river or the other. Money isn’t everything, especially if it is the farmer’s responsibility to feed the American people, as you state.


 Farmer 4

Dr. Harman- Biology, Petersburg High School

Monday, April 24, 2006

Brandi Eskew I am a farmer and I believe that the Chesapeake Bay pollution problem is not one that will be easily resolved. The Chesapeake Bay pollution problem is caused by many factors, some of the most significant of these include: 1. Low dissolved oxygen levels in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries as a direct result of nutrient pollution, principally nitrogen. Nutrients from sewage treatment plants, agricultural runoff and other sources enter the Bay and stimulate population explosions, or “blooms,” of microscopic plants called phytoplankton, or simply “algae.” When these algae die they sink to the bottom, the decomposition process removes oxygen from the water.(1) 2. Another cause is sediment, a natural component of the Bay’s ecosystem, but in excessive amounts creates harmful conditions for the Bay’s plants and animals, this is one of the problems that will be very difficult and expensive to correct, the major cause of this problem is that during periods of rain or melting snow, soil and other particles flow off the land and into waterways. Soil erosion caused by wave action along shorelines also contributes to sediment in the Bay, and to a lesser degree, wind, ice floes and water currents add to the amount of sediment.(2) 3. Up to 70% of the pollution degrading our streams, rivers, and the Bay comes from runoff from agricultural and developed land. In an effort to reduce pollution from these sources, we could implement an exhaustive laundry list of agricultural and urban best management practices such as forested buffers, nutrient management plans, wetland mitigation, growth management, yield reserve, and manure to energy initiatives.(3) Some of the solutions to this problem include significantly reducing pollution from wastewater treatment plants by limiting the amount of nitrogen that a sewage treatment plant should be allowed to discharge.(3). As a farmer I could use some or all of the following methods to help reduce pollution caused by farmers; cover crops which reduce erosion and the leaching of nutrients to groundwater by maintaining a vegetative cover over cropland; enhanced nutrient management, “yield reserve”, or a reduction of nitrogen applied to cropland, conservation tillage which is planting and growing crops with minimal disturbance of surface soil; forest or riparian buffers which are wooded areas along rivers, streams, and shorelines that help filter nutrients, sediments, and other pollutants from runoff. There are numerous solutions to this problem each of which needs to be examined carefully to identify the positive and negative aspects, also to determine whether or not the percentage of pollutants that the particular option will remove is significant enough to offset the cost. Fundraisers, if possible, should pay for these solutions and the government should pay for the rest. These fundraiser could be anything from having a fishing day at chosen locations and having the participants pay for the fish that they keep, to having concerned citizens make donations. Also you could take a different approach and charge a $0.10 tax on every pound of fish sold that comes from the Bay. These are just a few of the possible solutions to the Chesapeake Bay pollution problem. References 1. 2. 3.

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 Farmer Jon

Doc. Harman- Ad. Biology, Petersburg High

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I’m a farmer that is concerned with condition of the Chesapeake Bay. My own farm practices hurt the condition. The fertilizer I use on my crops has chemicals in it to make my crops grow bigger. This has the same condition in the Chesapeake Bay when my fertilizer drains off into the rivers. The fertilizer causes the plants to go too big too rapidly causing less oxygen for animals and less sunlight from the algae for the plants on the bottom of the Bay. My cattle have the same effect as well. I don’t have the equipment to water all of my cattle unless I allow them to roam freely into the river for water. The chemicals in their manure have the same effect as fertilizer to the plants in the Chesapeake Bay. There are a few different options to fix these problems. There are a couple of different alternatives we could do for each. I could lower the amount of fertilizer I put on my crops. Another plan is I could place a buffer zone of grass between my crops and the river. There’s smarter ways to water your cattle too. I could hook a hose to a river/dependable water source and have it go into a large water trough for my live stock to come up to and drink. A different alternative is to use more ponds. The pond water will not flow into the rivers. These ideas would cost money but if the government wants to clean up its rivers these would be very useful ideas.