The Potomac Highlands Watershed School 

Stream Cleaner Environmental Forum 2008

Points of View & Thoughtful Questions - Farmers


Farmer POV & TQ Navigation


Wayward Farmers   lonely farmers   Chicken Kickers'' 101   yee old farmers

Shenandoah Junction Farmers Inc.   the big polluters   SJJ Farmers   THE FARMERS

farmer Steve   Fundraising farmers    I'm a Farmer 8   the farms JW

Bojangles   Funky Farmers   Mineral County Agriculturalists (the Aggies)  mo'field fishies

The Pitchforks   Girls Just Wanna Farm   Cost Incentives  Milky & Manure   

The Lone Ranger   corn not ethanol

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Comments to All Farmers


       Response    Wayward Farmers - farmer - MRGS


             As far as the manure is concerned I don't think transporting it outside the

             watershed is an alternative because it could harm the area your transporting it to.

              You could sell it, give it away for use, or use it yourself. If you are near water

             and fear of polluting the watershed then you can employ BMPs to reduce the

             impact of the manure on the watershed.  This may eliminate the need for

             expensive technologies and you would be able to farm all your land. BMPs such as

             a good riparian buffer and no till planting could greatly reduce pollution and run -





Wayward Farmers                                                                      Massanutten Gov. S.-Newcomer


 We are alternative fuel farmers from Gretna, Virginia where we currently use corn as our

primary source for alternative fuel. Recently it has come to our attention that switch grass

produces a higher fuel yield in regards to ethanol than corn. Because of this recent

development we have made the decision to convert to using switch grass, instead of corn as

our primary source of alternative fuel.


Not only does switch grass produce a higher yield than corn, but it also reduces many

harmful farming practices. For example, switch grass grows better when no-till farming is

used; this helps to reduce the amount of soil erosion taking place. Switch grass also doubles

as a cover crop, and switch grass is drought and flood resistant. The carbon storing roots

of switch grass help to maintain soil and water quality even after the crop has been

harvested. It can grow in poor, rocky soil with a pH over 5. Another plus is that regular hay

equipment can be used to harvest the switch grass. Also existing farm buildings can be

modified to store the switch grass. This makes switching to switch grass an easy step for

farmers to make with very few hidden costs involved.


Currently, corn produces up to 400 gallons of ethanol per acre. Switch grass however

produces up to 1,000 gallons of ethanol and up to 8 to 10 tons of biomass per acre. This

means that switch grass can yield up to 93 percent more biomass per acre. Currently, the

production cost of ethanol is $55 per ton; this figure includes the cost of storage,

transportation, and production. The annual profit is $103 per acre.We are some of the

first farmers in our area to begin turning a profit from the use of switch grass; hopefully,

because of our example and the other varied benefits of switch grass, it will become the

plant to save the bay.  By protecting the water and soil quality of our backyard, we can

protect and fix the quality of our beloved Chesapeake Bay.



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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   Home Jackets - homeowner - MHS                                              Ask


     I really like your POV. What are you going to do to help to keep the what clearn?

     I see your point, using corn as fuel jacks the price of feed up and  i've heard that

     switch grass is more efficent the corn as fuel, I've also heard that you get more

     fuel out of suger cain. What are the pros and cons of farming suger cain.


  From:   Shenandoah Junction Farmers Inc. - farmer - JHS                   Ask


     You said switch grass is an alturnitive fuel. If it can be used as a fuel than it is very

     combustable, if it spills what could it do to harm the bay? What do you do if it


  From:   The Forester Boys - Other - KHS(K)                                           Ask


            Does corn or grass put off any green house gases, if so what?

  From:   Mineral County Agriculturalists (the Aggies) - farmer -             Ask


     While you do acknowledge the lack of efficiency of ethanol have you also considered

      the effects of monocropping? If all land is used for one type of crop then the

     carbon will not be recycled as well. I've also seen studies that state cutting down

     forests and plowing up unused land will lead to a increase in atmosphere.  Carbon

     previously stored in the trees and soils will be released back into the atmosphere. 

     The study suggested biofuels could lead to an increase in carbon emisions. Just a

     thought.  Wanted to point that out.  Very good ideas though.

  From:   Chicken Kickers'' 101 - farmer - MHS                                                      Ask


     What exactly is switch grass?

  From:   awesomley amazing super spectacular envoirnmentalist - Other -          Ask


     I dont really understand the switch grass part. Explain it more!






lonely farmers                                                                                         Hampshire H.S.-Moore


  Many people blame most of todayís problems on the local farmers. I completely disagree

that it is the entire farmers fault. Of course the Chesapeake Bay is getting hit hard.

Farmers, homeowners, waterman, recreation and tourism, and of course the fish is getting

hit hard. Every person that lives in the area is at fault.


Farmers for years now have been using fertilizer on the fields, normally it is manure, but it

was a slow process of what has happened. Many farmers do use best management

practices. For example, my family uses all types of buffers, sediment ponds, and has put

aside land that is not used for agricultural reason along the streams.  Everyone knows that

the increase in phosphates is a bigger problem with the watershed. Well, not only farmers

use phosphates, homeowners also use them. People do not realize that when you wash your

hands the soap has phosphates in it.       For many years, as I said, farmers have been

fertilizing. We all know that it is a slow process of getting into the stream. Today, there is a

 much bigger problem. Any type of animal processing plants is normally placed along rivers.

Many people do not realize the amount of hormones that is used to raise a chicken in four

weeks. It use to take six months to a year, depending on what feed was being used ; now it

is taking four weeks to raise a bird. Come on, now yes it is a field of agriculture but it is

industry. So, it is just not farmers.       


Now there are ways for farmers to lessen the speedy process. Many farmers have been

contacted by many groups to help them lessen the problem. For example, my family has

planted new trees around all stream access, and cut off all animal access. Place buffers

around the water source if it is necessary to production. Place gravel or stone to make a

walk way for the livestock.  There are many ways that will help lessen this problem that one

 day could damage the Bay for good.    


In order to fix or delay the problem everyone needs to help one another. Homeowners, if

you want clean, healthy water stop using as much soap, or harmful cleaners. An alternative

to harsh cleaners is vinegar. Using the harsh cleaner is actually dangerous to you and your

bathroom facility. It breaks down the liner in the tub. So, use less soap and less cleaners,

use natural things. Industries already have regulations, but my personal opinion is slap some

more on. Donít allow waste from the plant to flow down the rivers. People all around this

watershed eat the products of what is causing the problem.      


So, in order to fix the problem everyone NEEDS to help ONE ANOTHER!!! Stop blaming

the other person for all of our faults. In conclusion, everyone is at fault from the farmer

to the homeowner right on into the industry.



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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS                                        Ask


     If we used less soap and less cleaners, don't you think that we would be a little

     dirty? and what do you suppose the we use for soap that is natural?

       Response    lonely farmers - farmer - HHS

                                                                                       4/10/2008       9:49:00 AM

             Not necessarily. Back in the old, old days they only took a bath maybe twice

             a month, if they were lucky. In today's society it has been pounded in our

             mind that we must take a bath everyday. When it has been proven that it is

             not the best thing, it dries our skin out. Many people today do not work as

             hard as they did, so you shouldn't stink. The type of soap that was mainly

             used was lye soap. Which is made from lard and other natural resources.

             Also if you get a bad case of poison ivy, lye soap works wanders.


  From:   Home Jackets - homeowner - MHS                                              Ask


     I liked that you stated your family in this. The POV takes a personal turn, but you

     forgot to mention that homeowners also use fertilizers, and many homeowners don't

      use a best management practices.

       Response    lonely farmers - farmer - HHS

                                                                                       4/10/2008       10:26:00 AM

             Although, you didn't formally ask a question, I just want to comment back.

             That is an excellent point. Thanks for including that. Homeowner also use

             fertilizer, but many people would say well, its not in large amounts. Well any

             amount will cause problems. Also, the fertilizer they use, if they have a well,

            it goes into their drinking water, so they are hurting themselves.



  From:   fishies - CB_Ecosystem - MHS                                                     Ask


     what problems are blamed on local farmers?

  From:   DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS                                                      Statement


     well that is lovely but i like my Victoria's Secret, and its not tested on animals. and i can also

      go to the store and buy lotion for my dry skin... some people work hard in a day, harder

     than in the olden days, and they are very dirty, i think that they deserve to take a bath

     every day if they want.

  From:   The Forester Boys - Other - KHS(K)                                                         Statement


     Do you have proof that that farmers have nothing to do with the pollution problem in the


       Response    lonely farmers - farmer - HHS


             I believe you are right lonely farmers. Manure can cause toxins to the fish killing

             them and polluting the water. It is truly the farmers faults they are the ones with

              the fertilizer not us. If the manure gets in the water fish die, and our drinking

             water turns discusting.

       Response    lonely farmers - farmer - HHS


             It is not all of the farmers fault. Yes, farmers do use fertilizer; to produce the

             food you eat. So if farmers didn't use FERTILIZERS you would go hungry.

             Homeowners also use fertilizers. It beats me why, when they complain about

             destroying the water. Do you use FERTILIZER on any of you lawns or gardens?



  From:   The Pitchforks - farmer - MdSA                                                            Ask


     Dear Lonely farmers - how would using less soap impact our Bay? i understand that

     there are chemicals but have there been tests or data to show that soap has that great

     of an effect?

  From:   Wayward Farmers - farmer - MRGS                                                        Ask


     Firstly, you focus a lot of what other stakeholder groups can do...what does that have to

      do with farmers? Secondly, farmers do have responsibility in polluting the bay (by the

     way...could you mention what you're doing to help the bay?) and though they are not the

     only ones to blame, they are not faultless. It would be nice to see you admit to the

     detrimental effects farmers have on the bay and what you can do to fix it. Thirdly, are

     there are any alternate practices to your chicken farming idea that are equally effective

      that will not risk putting hormones into the bay?

     Otherwise, it's a well written paper and well developed ideas...I would just like to see

     more thought on your own responsibility as a stakeholder group. Thanks!




Farmer POV & TQ Navigation

Wayward Farmers   lonely farmers   Chicken Kickers'' 101   yee old farmers

Shenandoah Junction Farmers Inc.   the big polluters   SJJ Farmers   THE FARMERS

farmer Steve   Fundraising farmers    I'm a Farmer 8   the farms JW

Bojangles   Funky Farmers   Mineral County Agriculturalists (the Aggies)  mo'field fishies

The Pitchforks   Girls Just Wanna Farm   Cost Incentives  Milky & Manure   

The Lone Ranger   corn not ethanol

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Chicken Kickers'' 101                                                                           Moorefield H.S.-Gillies


Why are Poultry Farms Important? Poultry Farms are important because they produce the

food we eat. Without farms there would be no food. Poultry farming is the process of

raising chickens for their meat. Since the 1930s and '40s, the poultry business has become

one of the most efficient producers of protein for humans. Poultry farming expanded

rapidly during World War II because of the shortage of beef and pork, which require a

much longer time to develop. It takes seven weeks to produce a broiler chicken and five

months to produce a laying hen. The average consumption of beef and pork decreased,

between 1980 and 1995, by 11 percent. While consumption of chickens increased by 50

percent. During the same time concern about cholesterol contributed to a decline in egg

consumption. Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

federally monitores poultry and egg production. The U.S. supplies more than 10 percent of

the total egg production. The U.S. is a leader in poultry production. While California

produced 9 percent of the nations eggs. That's why poultry farms are important because

without them there would be no eggs or chickens.


4) Which types of solution would I prefer to stop or slow down the pollution on my Farm?

By putting the chicken remains on the field when they die is pollution to the watershed of

that area. When the rain hits the dead chickens reamains it washes off then drains the

bacteria off it into the nearest creek. So my solution is to make a compost pile under a

covered roof. This will let the weather break it down then it will be broke down enough to

put on the fields safely.  Another thing that I will work on is having a drainage pond

(sediment pond) for all the water that comes out of the chicken houses and then it will go

straight into the sediment pond.  Maybe I could even try to invest in some lime for the

fields in place for the chicken litter. That will lower the pollution a very little but still

effective. Also will having a cover crop on the corn fields. The cover crop will take in the

nutrients in the soil and then will collect the sediments in the runoff. These were the most

effective for the price.



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Thoughtful Questions


  From:   lonely farmers - farmer - HHS                                                    Ask


     Chicken Kickers" 101, although the chicken industry has been around for a long time,

     it has its down falls. You say another way to get rid of the waste is to put it on the

     field, but what happens if that waste is diseased? Then, how would you take care of

     that. Why not burn the left overs, or form a decompost pile. There are many things

     to think about when it comes to chickens. During the World War 2, there were not as

      many people living in the U.S. needing to be feed. So, with the increase of people

     there is more of a demand for the food. So, in this case the birds must be put on

     horomones to hasten the growth. This process causes many problems. How would you

      fix a diseased field, a diseased chicken house, or contaminated water?

  From:   The Greens - homeowner - MRGS                                                            Statement


     You explained why chicken farming is important but you didn't really have any real

     solutions to the issues it has. Also, if you put a compost pile under a covered roof then

     the manure will not be able to be "weathered down" like you said.  Even so if it is broken

     down, it will still pollute the river when it is spread on the fields. Another question I have

     is, if you have a chicken farm(which are chicken houses) why would you need a cover

     crop? Is this strictly a chicken farm or do you sell crops, too?

  From:   Fishin' Impossible - Waterman - MRGS                                                  Ask


      Farming goes beyond poultry.  What else would you do to curb the effects of your

     farm on the Chesapeake Bay- even you said that your practices would be minimal and

     would do very little.  Could you expand on your ideas and talk more about what you

     would do to stop pollution from the rest of your farm?








yee old farmers                                                                                      Hampshire H.S.-Moore


As farmers we produce a lot of animal waste, which produces methane gas. There are a lot

of alternates to animal wastes like transporting excess manure outside of the Chesapeake

Bay watershed. We agree with the use of other technologies but we do not want to pay for

the expenses for the transportation of the manure. The problem with out using manure is

that the ground may not let crops grow as well with the poor soil. We could always not

spread manure as close to the waters edge as we usually do. Then we would be loosing

money and we think that we should get a little money for the acres that we do not harvest

and sell. There are a lot of people around our area that think we should  take money out of

our own pocket and put it into what they want us to do but we donít see it that way.The

solution for this problem may be as simple as if we do something to make the water shed

better thatís going to cost us then we should get a little money back from that in some way.

 Such as the people that use the river like fishers that pay for their fishing license then

they should take some money out of that profit and distribute it to the farmers. The point

is basically that if we farmers are to do something good for the watershed then we should

get something back for it or we are not going to want to do it.




Ask a Thoughtful Question or Respond

Thoughtful Questions

  From:   Home Jackets - homeowner - MHS                                              Ask


     There wasn't a lot on information. What about sediment and nutrients?

  From:   Mineral County Agriculturalists (the Aggies) - farmer -             Ask


     In this article you point out that you don't want to do anything good for the

     watershed unless you get something back. How much do you think you should be

     getting back? Why not put the money your getting back into better transportation

     for the manure? There also are other items pollunting the bay, why not use some of

     the money to reduce the sediments going into the bay by putting in forest buffers or

             something of the sort?


  From:   Home Jackets - homeowner - MHS                                                            Ask


     what are the  alternates to animal wastes? if you trasnport the the manure outside this

     watarshead, it will just polluat other watarshead. what good will that do!

  From:   DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS                                                      Ask


     If you have a stream running through your pasture couldn't you cut the access off from

     the cows so they dont put excess sediment in the water?

  From:   The Pitchforks - farmer - MdSA                                                            Ask


     Why don't you just ask the local government for just enough money to provide you with

     what you need instead of taking money from the fisherman who worked hard for their






Shenandoah Junction Farmers Inc.                                                       Jefferson H.S.-Gipson


As a farmer we produce much of the food that people and animals consume in the U.S and

worldwide. The Farmers shouldn't be blamed for everything that causes pollution to the

Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. The farms may use manure which may cause

algiboom or other eco-problems. Other farmers near the river may be using manure or

other fertilizers. The problem with with the farmers using eco-friendly fertilizers, is that

these fertilizers cost so much. But, as Farmers we should be blamed because many people

trow things in the river and bay. The people that are in Metropolitan areas should be blamed

 over the farmers. Many water problems have now been linked to pharmaceutical drugs and

other chemicals which would be released in more populated areas. The chemicals and

pharmaceutical drugs would be in a more concentrated amount.  So as farmers I belive that

 we shouldn't be blamed for everything. And If the Goverment is so worried about the

Chesapeake Bay Watershed they need to create tax incentives for farmers that use eco-

friendly fertilizers. The goverment should try and make them cheeper because we lose so

much money.




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Thoughtful Questions


  From:   Team Green - homeowner - HHS                                                  Statement


     I think that Farmers and people in the city are equally responsible for the pollution in

      the rivers and streams. They both add unwanted waste to the rivers. We need to be

     more aware of the wastes we put in our streams. We also need to think of the long

     term effects it will have on our environment.

       Response    Shenandoah Junction Farmers Inc. - farmer -

                                                                                       4/10/2008       7:20:00 AM

             I Know You Said That You think that farmers and people from the city

             release  the same anount but if farmers on agriculurists use the right amount

              of fertilizer on the ground it breakes up so as farmers can we really be

             blamed for much of the problems.


  From:   fishies - CB_Ecosystem - MHS                                                     Ask


          I agree, farmers cannot be blamed for everything and they should not be.

     Farmer should help come up with ways that they could contribute to helping  without

     spending too much money. The question is, how could you help? What could you do

     that would help?

  From:   Muffins - developer - JHS                                                           Statement


     Yea, farmers put so much pollutants in the water.  Find a something better then

     pesticides or make ones that dont pollute the water!! >:[

       Response    Shenandoah Junction Farmers Inc. - farmer -


             Where did you get your facts? Do you know you would starve with out farmers

  From:   DB Defenders - Waterman - JWHS(T)                                                   Statement


     You are WRONG! Farmers are greedy (and dirty) therefore unwilling to pay a couple

     bucks extra to keep a healthy environment. Farming is becoming less and less common

     because no one likes farmers. Farmers are solely responsible for the pollution in the CB


       Response    hug a tree - Other - RHS


             i dont think farmers should be blamed for the pollution problem because they are

              the backbone of this country. if it wasnt for them we wouldnt have all the fresh

             crops, friuts, and vegitables to eat.


  From:   The Chesapeake Strip Mall - Other - MRGS                                           Statement


     DB Defenders, that's not only a very misinformed statement, it's also disgustingly

     closed-minded. Saying that farmers are SOLELY responsible for pollution in the CB

     watershed is plainly ignorant - there are so many other variables, including YOU -

     including each of us. The watershed's youth is trying to come together and talk about

     solutions for the problems that affect all of us. This kind of collaboration is made

     difficult when offensive and untrue statements like these are made with such flippancy.

     If you still feel this way, I suggest you open up your refrigerator or pantry and

     contemplate how all of that food is available to you because of your supposedly "greedy

     and dirty" farmers.

  From:   Yellow Lemons - recreation - JWHS(T)                                                   Ask


     Yea you are right the farmers are not to blame. To clear up your statement how would

     the govt help you out in the fight to save the bay?


       Response    Shenandoah Junction Farmers Inc. - farmer -


             You asked how the goverment could help us as farmers to save the bay.

             The goverment could help by putting tax encentives and try and lower the price

             of eco-frendly fertilizer so we could try and make a living while producing a yield

             that could feed many people wile having smaller tracts of land.






the big polluters                                                                                   Buffalo Gap H.S.-Riley


  The farmer has a huge impact on the Chesapeake Bay. We pollute the bay with our

fertilizer and pesticides but we canít grow what we need if we didnít put it on our crops.

We need to find better ways to use the products we need without polluting the bay. We

either need to find a way to stop the products from going into the bay or itís just going to

keep getting worse because we canít stop farming.

  The farmers dump a lot of waste into the bay whether itís on purpose or not. We need to

use the products that we need and no more. The farmers can plant tree buffers that way

it does not run off into the stream. Also, by planting tree buffers farmers can get paid for

 planting them. They get paid for rent on their land where the trees take up space. There

are a lot of programs like the NREC that farmers can use to fix the pollution problem.

There are projects that the community can join the help the bay.  The farmers can put a

nutrient management plan on their land to help fix the problem.

  These are some solutions to solving the problem of the bay pollution. We all need to do our

 part to help clean up the bay. If we all work together the bay will clean again someday.



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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   fishies - CB_Ecosystem - MHS                                                                   Ask


     How will this help fix the problem?

       Response    the big polluters - farmer - BGHS


             That will keep the water from running into rivers and streams.


  From:   Wishy Washy Watermen - Waterman - RHS                                          Ask


     What are some solutions to solving the problem of the Bay pollution?

       Response    the big polluters - farmer - BGHS


             Planting tree buffers, using less dangerous fertilizers.


  From:   corn not ethanol - farmer - RHS                                                            Ask


     Don't you think that it would be a good idea to use the animal waste as fertilizer and in

     that way we don't contaminate the water with commercial fertilizer?  In that way we

     clean our animal waste to prevent future contamination and you save money on

     commrercial fertilizer.  Do you think I'm right or wrong?

       Response    the big polluters - farmer - BGHS


             I agree that animal waste would be less expensive and wouldn't have as much

             dangerous chemicals that could pollute the bay. No matter what kind of fertilizer

             you use it will still pollute the bay to some extent.





SJJ Farmers                                                                                          Jefferson H.S.-Gipson


 we are important because we care about the environment. we grow food and

produce milk .the bays problems affects us because it can contmatne our crops and live

stock. we would loose money . farmers pollute the soil with the ferizilers and pestizlies .we

should either use manure or natural soil.we would loose size of crops by not haveing the

same soil as usual. also more time and effort, as then just buying the product and puting on

the ground. it benifits more into the environment . we probably will disappere if nothing is

done about this !!




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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS                                        Ask


     What are ways that you could improve alternative soils for your crops to gain back

     produce and money?


       Response    SJJ Farmers - farmer - JHS

                                                                                       4/9/2008         1:19:00 PM

             One way we would change the alternating soils would be us useing the old

             fashion gardening tools to dig the ground up by making it rich and soft for

             crops to easily grow.Another way would be to use cover crops so your ground

              can always be in use. So we can produce more money.

       Response    DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS


             People still use old fashioned gardening tools for small gardens but for cover

              crops in major fields, those types of tools would be of little use due to the

             large amount of land that needs to be cultivated in a short amount of time.

             This would make the outcome of the profit actually lower and the farmers

             would also have to do even more work then before.

       Response    SJJ Farmers - farmer - JHS


             We did not mean for the old time tools to be used on large crop fields. Using crop

              rotaion will make you more money, not less. you have to let the fields and soil

             gain back nutrients so you can get a good harvest. If you use the proper

            equiptment and know what your doing your outcome will be fine.


  From:   Bojangles - farmer - JWHS(T)                                                                   Ask


     What solutions can help solve your problems???


  From:   The Counting Coals - Other - MRGS                                                       Statement


     If you want to help the bay rather than hurting it look for alternative ways to keep

     these pollutants out of the water by using good farming methods.  Also look into

     spreading your livestocks manure on your fields because it may actually be cheaper and

     safer for the environment.  Please explain how using natural soil will make a difference

            on the impact of the bay.

  From:   Industry Minimizing Pollution - Other - MRGS                                        Ask


     What have farmers done already to improve the environment? You focus more on what

     the farmers should do, for instance, use manure or natural soil but haven't mentioned

     how that would improve or benefit the environment. Also, how would using natural soil or

     manure affect the bay?

       Response    Fishin' Impossible - Waterman - MRGS


             I think you need to reevaluate your effect on the Bay.  Agricultural waste is the

             number one cause of the degradation of the Bay.  The spike in nutrients (nitrogen,

              phosphorus, and potassium) from runoff from farm fertilizers is responsible for

              eutrophication in the Bay.  The nutrients are conducive to the growth of algae. 

             After the algae blooms, bacteria decompose it, removing excessive amounts of

             oxygen from the water.  A lack of dissolved oxygen is highly detrimental to the

             food chain, which is responsible for the severe fall in fish and shellfish. 

             Agricultural pollution has severely impacted the livelihood of fishermen and others

              who rely on the health of the Bay.  The Bay's problems do not affect farmers

             adversely, as you stated--farmers detrimentally impact the Bay.  Agriculture is

             the primary adversary of the Bay, not the other way around.






THE FARMERS                                                                                       Hampshire H.S.-Moore


     This issue in which is present throughout the Chesapeake Bay is not being caused only by

 farmers. The actions made by farmers do have an impact upon the conflicts of the

environment around the bay. Actions such as decreasing the nitrogen by 33 percent and the

 phosphorus by 53 percent in nutrients is a major step towards helping the changes

progress throughout the environment. Nitrogen and phosphorus occur naturally in the soil

but, an excess of these nutrients can be harmful.

      Due to the fact that much of the Chesapeake is now surrounded by farms, cities, and

suburbs the shoreline does not have natural vegetation which at one point in time helped

hold the bay's banks together. Also there are now very few wetlands and forests

surrounding the bay. Runoff from farms is generally declining as farmers adopt nutrient

management and runoff control techniques. Also the overall amount of farmland and

farmers is decreasing.

     Farmers are being given grants to place watering mechanisms to keep livestock from

entering nearby creeks and streams. Farmers are reducing erosion and sedimentation by

20-90 percent by applying management measures to control the volume and flow rate of

runoff water in which keeps the soil in place and reduces the soil transport. Farmers

confining animals cause polluted runoff percentages to be raised. This issue can be fixed

by simply managing the facility. Some build a place for runoff to exit and also to be stored.

 Also water treatments are available which can be placed in areas in which runoff is being





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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   Representing Luke Mill - Other - KHS(K)                                     Ask


     What would be acceptable nitrogen and phosphorus?

       Response    Representing Luke Mill - Other - KHS(K)

                                                                                       4/10/2008       6:50:00 AM

             Nitrogen and phosphorus levels that is.


       Response    THE FARMERS - farmer - HHS

                                                                                       4/10/2008       8:18:00 AM

             The amounts of each nutrient depends upon the amounts inwhich the soil

             already posseses. The nutrients inwhich is rich in the soil do not need to be

             added. For example if a soil test indicates high levels of phosphorus and

             potassium availability, then a fertilizer supplying only nitrogen is

             necessary.When an excess of a specific nutrient is added the amounts

             inwhich the soil does not need is washed off. By taking a soil sample and

             mixing only the needed nutrients you can reduce the chances of increasing

             the amounts of harmful runoff.






farmer Steve                                                                                   James Wood H.S.-Fordyce


Getting involved in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed helps me continue having a good future

being a farmer. If the run off water in my fields have chemicals on them the runoff from

it will pollute the water shed.  I have to be careful what I use on my fields because I canít

cause pollutants in the bay. I will have to use organic fertilizers instead of using the ones

all the other farmers are using. Runoff water wonít be able to be used for irrigation which

will cause me money in the long run. Well-maintained forest buffers also naturally absorb

nutrients and sediments, helping improve water quality in neighboring streams and rivers.

One of out solutions is to raise money so we can start regulation plans on the water so we

can make sure it stays clean. We also would like to come up with a program to get other

farmers around the world to get involved in using safe practices to help clean up the

Chesapeake Bay.The cost of the solutions is going to affect my income because itís going to

be very costly. I would save money by not using as much fertilizer because itís good for me

 and itís good for the watershed. I will try to have a meeting involving all of the farmers

and try to get them to understand the importance of keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean.

Our best solution is to make farmers understand how important it is to keep waste runoff

out of the bay.




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  From:   The Counting Coals - Other - MRGS                                                       Statement


     You're right, using less fertilizer and installing buffers would be helpful to the Bay. But

     it would be very difficult to have an effective regulation group because run off is a non

     point source of pollution.





Fundraising farmers                                                                        James Wood H.S.-Fordyce


  I am a farmer having an auction to raise money to save the Chesapeake Bay. I need the

water from the bay for my farmer and other farmers need this water also.   In this

auction you will find a lot of farm goods such as hay, tools, chickens, fruits, tractors,

cattle, meats, and corn .  You might even be able to have a door prize that will help you.

.This auction will take place on my farm.  This is for a great cause and would mean a lot to

your community, so please come!

  With the money I make I will get technology, workers, soil and a lot of other equipment

necessary  to help save the bay! Antoher thing this auction is raising money for is to help

the wildlife with a healthy clean habitat and food to live in and this will help our tourism

industry by still having wildlife around. The Chesapeake Bay is important to a lot of people

and itís extremely important to keep it clean and in good condition.

  The main problems in the bay are the mix of nutrients and soil around the land that

washes down into rivers and into the bay. Rivers and streams connected to the bay  which 

are degrading.. Where fisherman fish for crabs and such the waters are horribly low due

to the evaporation and pollution that is going on along the shores.   Possible recycling the

water might bring back the shoreline. These are jus a few problems that need to be


  Every one in the watershed states should help not just the farmers around those areas

,the watershed states are Maryland, Pennsylvania ,and Virginia .Everyone has a different

place to start and help from the water to the land and wildlife. It would be plenty help just

 not littering so everyone jump in and help your watershed.




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I'm a Farmer 8                                                                               James Wood H.S.-Fordyce


  With me being a framer Iím an important person. I provide food for many people, so I POV:

need fresh clean water. I as a framer can also help to provide clean water. There are

things that I can do with my farm. I can change things around so that Iím helping the water

 system. Even just one farm has something to do with the Chesapeake Bay. So I need to

change the way things are for the better of the Chesapeake Bay. If I change then maybe I

 can get other farmers to do the same and if we all put some help out we really could

change things.

  The bay being polluted affects many people (everyone). I have a large farm with many

crops, so I need fresh clean water for the crops to grow. I need those crops to grow so

that I can get my money for them and if I donít have the water then I canít get paid. If I

have polluted water my crops wonít grow and I would have to give my animalís dirty water.

My animals find water to drink out of the streams and if itís dirty water they get sick and

I canít use them. So then I would lose money in that part because I would not be able to

use them or I would have to get them medicine so they were healthy again. So as we can

tell I need to have clean water.

  If their was Solution to the polluted water it would be benefic to me and everyone else

we all need clean water. My animals would be able to drink water from the water in the

streams that they find even the people could. My crops would have good water so they

could grow to. My family even everyone else would. Many people would be very happy.

  As a farmer we could help by doing things different with our farms. With watching were

our animals are going so that they are not in the steams we could have water just for them

 so that the steams stay clean. We could watch what we put on our crops so that nothing 

would be bad for the water. We could take better care of our rivers and steams. Watch

were we put he fertilizer and keeping it under control and watching how much we use. We

could grow things around the river and streams that we have. Having the plant planted

around the stream would help stop or slow down what gets in to the river. That would be a

very big thing and I think that it would really help.

  For it to work and the water not be polluted we all would have to take part. Everyone

would need to make changes in how they do things. It would be helpful to us and the

younger generation because they would know that we are trying to change things to help us

 and if they see that then as they grow they would try to help also. With that we could

change for the better and everyone would have what they needed.



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the farms JW                                                                                 James Wood H.S.-Fordyce


  Iím a farmer by the Chesapeake Bay. I provide food and fiber, helping provide clean

water, clean air and wildlife habitat.I volunteer to implement good conservation practices

on working lands, something thatís of critical importance in the Chesapeake Bayís

watershed. Theres a lot of farmers that go and try to help. We talk about how bad the bay

 is and how we can help the bay to.

  The good news is that farmers in the three primary Bay watershed statesóMaryland,

Pennsylvania and Virginiaóare already doing a lot to help the Bay by rasing money at

auction , volunteer to help clean the bay once a week  ,technolgy more helpful too . We

farmers need to help the bay in different ares of the bay ( the water and  the soil around

the bay). We need money and technolgy to do anything to the bay.

  One of the Chesapeakeís biggest problems is the mix of nutrients and soil from nearby

land that washes into rivers, and then downstream into the Bay. Crabs and oysters catches

on the Bay are at historic lows and local streams and rivers connected to the Bay are

degraded. The farmers helped by getting money and volunteer at the bay every weekend,

getting new soil for the land/ bay

  Farmes which cover most of the Bay landscape and are critical to the regionís economy

contribute significantly to the problem of soil and nutrient runoff.  If we recycle water the

 shore line would come back.We donít know what to do. We are trying to help more every

day and every year.  Some farmers are raising money by doing auction .



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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   fi$h hunter$ - Waterman - MdSA                                                          Ask


     What exactly are your ideas of how to limit pollution? And what do you mean by

     auctioning yourself off?





Bojangles                                                                                          James Wood H.S.-Takarsh


We farmers are very important to the environment. We keep a majority of produce sold in

the community local. This keeps prices low and helps to strengthen the local economy.

There are many solutions that we could come up with for the problem in the bay. One

solution that we don't want is a fertilizer ban. This would cause a loss of profit and

efficiency which will cause higher prices and limited supply. Another solution we don't want

is a limit on land use. This would also cause a loss of profit and we wouldn't be able to

produce as many crops. We also don't want irrigation because there is a high risk of failure

 when using this system.

Things that we want are unregulated fertilizer usage. This would cause a huge rise in

production. We would also like unlimited water which will provide a lot of healthy crops. We

would also like unlimited land usage which will maximize productivity.

We have come to some compromises that will benefit us and the environment. We have

come to the conclusion that we could reduce harmful fertilizer usage which will benefit the

 environment. We could figure out a more effective irrigation system which provides less

water with greater efficiency. The last thing is that we could control land use which gives

better environmental protection and we could still have moderate production.




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  From:   Because we said so. - local_gov - JWHS(T)                                              Statement


     We also came up with the compromise of reducing the use harmful fertilizers!

  From:   The Pitchforks - farmer - MdSA                                                            Ask


     How would using "unlimited water" be any help for the Bay? Are there any restrictions

     on water usage right now?

  From:   fi$h hunter$ - Waterman - MdSA                                                          Ask


     I thought that farmers did use irrigation as a way to water their crops. And what are

     your plans to get unlimited water?

  From:   The Blind Anteater - CB_Ecosystem - JWHS(T)                                    Ask


     everything is good and all about the unregulated fertilizer but do you know wat are in

            the thing you use? do u kno wat happens wen it soaks through?





Funky Farmers         Revised 4/10/08                                                           Calvert H.S.-Gustin


  As corn farmers we are important to the produce economy.  We generate many corn

stalks each year that are distributed to different markets throughout our area. Because

corn is a nitrogen rich food, we have to use fertilizers in order to replenish the nitrogen in

our soil. This puts us at blame for contaminating the Bay with the fertilizers we use.

However, we get our soil tested each planting season to determine the proper amount of

fertilizer we need. This decreases the chance of having an excess of fertilizer induced

run-off.  Also, we use a significant amount of water when farming.  In times of drought,

we are forced to use more water to maintain a profit. Some possible solutions for these

problems would be changing the way we farm. We could implement farming techniques such

 as crop rotation, contour farming, terracing, the use of smaller equipment, and the

application of reduced amounts of chemicals or none at all. On our farm, we use crop

rotation and nutrient management (nitrogen) practices to further our conservation efforts.

 We would like to see more money sent to the Sustainable Agriculture Research and

Education program. This would help farmers around our region maintain sustainable farms

that arenít as harmful to the Chesapeake Bay. We need other stake holders to keep in mind,

 when thinking of solutions for the Bay, that there are four key goals of a sustainable


a)         maintain a productive topsoil

b)         keep food safe and wholesome

c)         reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides

d)         keep farms economically viable




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       Response    the farms JW - farmer - JWHS(F)


             how farms arenít as harmful to the Chesapeake Bay?

       Response    Funky Farmers - farmer - CHS


             We think you may want to look at the question you wrote to us and rephrase it.

            We were a little confused.

       Response    Because we said so. - local_gov - JWHS(T)


             This is very well put together. But it seems like you guys didn't find any new ideas

              that could help the bay. You just said what is already being done. I think there

             are many new things that we could do to clean up the bay and reduce pollution.





Mineral County Agriculturalists (the Aggies)                                               Keyser H.S.-Kurtz


  We as farmers would like to present our side of this great issue.  We understand about

the pollution in the bay and our part in it. We acknowledge that fertilizer runoff has been

linked to the contamination of the local watersheds and to the creation of multiple hypoxic

dead zones. Also, we recognize that conventional tillage methods can impact soil erosion

and feedlots create multiple hazards.

  On our side of the fence we are using Best Management Practices to decrease our piece

in this dilemma. Through studies, we are closer to determining the appropriate time and

amount of fertilizer to place on fields.  Local agriculturalists are also setting up, on our

own land, grass and forest riparian buffers in an attempt to get that much closer to

reducing our impact. Little can be done about existing feedlots because of the great

expense it takes to lessen their impact. However, we are encouraging those near us who are

 building feedlot areas, to take the watershed into account when planning their building.

   It has been greatly encouraged that we fence off land from rivers and creeks so that

cattle can no longer range on this area.  Cattle tread down the banks of such areas

creating looser sediments and destroying plants.  They also defecate in the water and as

doing such contaminate it greatly. These are all logical reasons against allowing cattle and

animals to drink from water sources. The farmerís position must also be taken into account

 with this supposed solution. For us it is not a simple matter of just fencing off some land.

The farmer must provide the fencing to block off such an area and then must also provide

alternative water sources for his animals.  If a program was set up to help with the

expenses of such practices many more farmers would be willing to participate.

  Having our water sources contaminated effects us as well.  Our crops and animals will be

harmed by the contamination of such water areas.

  We hope that these steps will decrease the amount of pollution of the bay. But it also

must be recognized that the steps we are taking are expensive and take time to implement.

Our plan is mostly taking small steps over an extended time to reduce drastic decrease in

our earnings. Our overall goal is to make healthy environment changes while still making a





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mo'field fishies                                                                                    Moorefield H.S.-Gillies


     Farmers cause a great deal of pollution in the Chesapeake water shed. Fertilizers and POV:

other materals wash into the bay and create an overabundance of nutrients causing algae

to grow and lower oxygen levels in the water. Farmers need to come up with solutions to

keep the nutrients in their fields and pastures not only to help the bay ,but to help them

selves. If most of the nutrience washes off of your fields it doesn't benifit you as much.

     One solution is to put buffers around gardens and fields to keep nutrients in. If you

keep nutrients if fields they will become more fertile.

     However farms are not the only source of pollution. In order to clean up the bay

everyone needs to give a little and compromise, no one group can fix the problem we all

need to work together.




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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   The Pitchforks - farmer - MdSA                                                            Ask


     How do you plan on raising the money to provide your fields with buffers and other

     things to prevent the pollution? How do you plan on getting more farmers together to

     help each other?

       Response    mo'field fishies - farmer - MHS


             I think the most importiant part is allerting farmers of the problem. To let them

             know what they can do to help, you could post an artical in the paper, call a

             conference or something. There are some small things farmers could do that

             would cost little or nothing. However they will still need money. Some sort of

             fund raiser could be held or a festival to raise money. The government could even

             help financially.






The Pitchforks                                                                             Mount de Sales Acad.-Sargo


    It is obvious that pollution is a big problem in our Bay and we farmers seem to be

contributing to it. One of the largest sources of pollution is from the excess nutrients that

come down from farmland into the rivers and streams that eventually end up in the Bay.

These excess nutrients come from the fertilizer that we use for our crops. We have found

 different methods to use to help diminish this problem.

    One of the methods that could be used is in the form of an actual plant. Nitrogen-fixing

plants increase nitrogen naturally without fertilizer. One season, a crop is planted that

converts nitrogen from the air into nitrogen in the soil. The next season, a crop that needs

nitrogen is planted. This cycle is repeated as many times as needed.

    The excess amount of nutrients in the Bay enhances rapid algae growth. This causes

clouding in the water, blocking out sunlight, which is essential to photosynthesis.  The

process ends up killing off all aquatic life. Obviously, this is something we do not want for

the Bay.  If we can all try to commit to these methods of reducing pollution in the Bay, it

may someday be completely restored.

    Even though this doesnít sound hard, these methods may produce financial problems that

 could have devastating results.  The cost of these methods would be more expensive than

the average payment of the cheaper fertilizer.  Most farmers buy the cheapest fertilizer

to save money.  By spending the extra money for the more eco-friendly fertilizer, our Bay

could take one big step further to a healthy life.  This also would help cut the cost of the

many different reservation programs that spend millions of dollars trying to preserve the

Bay.  For some farmers this may cause the closing of their farms.  These methods could be

 difficult to perform but the effort from every farmer is needed. 



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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   Bojangles - farmer - JWHS(T)                                                                Ask


     where would the farmers get the extra money for the eco-friendly fertilizer? wouldn't

     they be more willing to use this if they were provided with either the fertilizer or money

            for the fertilizer?

       Response    The Pitchforks - farmer - MdSA


             We could get money from the local government to help provide us with this

             fertilizer. Obviously, if we get the money that is needed we could be provided

            with the fertilizer that is needed.





Girls Just Wanna Farm                                                                    Rappahannock H.S.-Settle


           Farmers POV on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed


The Chesapeake Bay has a very large watershed so it is very expensive to keep it clean and

beautiful. One program that is trying to clean the bay estimates the total cost of cleaning

the bay is $18.7 billion. The amount that is still needed is $12.8 billion. The money is being

paid by each state: Virginia still owes $5.1 billion of its share.

     Farmland is very valuable, selling in Virginia for up to $5700 per acre.  The farmland is

being turned into subdivisions and condos, but environmentalists prefer it to stay as

farmland. Even though farmers contribute to water pollution with pesticides, fertilizers,

and manure, it is still better for the economy and environment for the land to remain for

agricultural use. When land is used for farming, you get the pollution of pesticides and

such, but you also get a good portion of grains for the world market. When that same land

is used for a subdivision, the fertile soil is being wasted and pollutants that come from the

human wastes, sewage systems and central air and heating goes unnoticed.

One reason that farmers are concerned about the amount of water pollution is that land is

generally passed down through families, and drinking water comes with it, if there is a well

on that land. Farmers are also concerned about the land being fertile for future

generations. If they abuse the land while they have it, the land will be useless for their

children (or successors).

     Farmers can contribute lots of pollution to the environment, including livestock manure,

fertilizers and pesticides, and exhaust from tractors and other farm machines. Studies

have shown that 27% of phosphorous and 60% of the nitrogen that ends up in the bay are

washed from cropland. 33.6% of Virginiaís agricultural products are crops such as corn and

 soybeans. Planting these crops over and over can lead to depletion of the soils nutrients.

Good soil conservation practices include crop rotation and no till drills, which cut down on

the loss of nutrients and soil due to erosion. Some things that help cut down on pollution

are thick grass or tree buffers on the banks of creeks or the river, and cutting back on

additional fertilizers and pesticides. By testing soil samples before adding extra products,

you may be able to skip the fertilizer and in turn, skip the extra pollution to the bay. To

help prevent pesticides and excess fertilizers from washing off of the land and into the

tributaries, farmers should leave the residue from past crops (such as corn stalks, husks,

and cobs) on top of the soil. This layer of organic matter keeps nutrients and pesticides on

the field. This keeps the pollution out of the bay and also the next year the farmer may not

 have to add as much fertilizer or pesticides because there will still be some left over from

 the past crop.

     66.4% of Virginiaís agricultural products are from livestock, so pollution (in the form of

 manure) is a very big threat to water pollution in our state. Broilers (9-12 week old

chickens) are Virginias top selling livestock animal. 22% of Virginiaís agricultural gain is

from the sale of broilers.  Ammonia in manure can be toxic to aquatic life or it can boost

the growth of marine plants. Either way, it is not good for bodies of water and the

organisms that live in them. If the manure or other fertilizers increase the growth of

aquatic plants, in particular, algae, the excess algae will block the sunlight, killing plants that

 grow on the bottom of water ways. When the excessive plants die, they use up too much

oxygen in the water, creating ďdead zones,Ē places where other organisms cannot live due

to the lack of oxygen. One way to prevent manure from getting into the waterways is to

install waste storage systems, which many large livestock farmers are adding to their

farms. Another method is pasture rotation, moving livestock when the grass is grazed down

 to a certain height, to prevent overgrazing and excess runoff.

     Some of the water pollution credited to the farmers comes from the nationís newfound

 dependency for corn-based ethanol as an alternative fuel resulting in more and more corn

being grown. The problem with this, other than rising prices in corn and other grains, is that

 corn is considered a ďleakyĒ grain: it lets much more nitrogen wash away from the soil and

into the nearest tributaries emptying into the bay, polluting water and marine life. A

possible solution to this water pollution problem is turning to ethanol that is made primarily

with prairie grasses, shrubs, and fast growing trees so that a lot of excess nitrogen is not

ending up in the Chesapeake Bay.

     The biggest problem about getting farmers to use BMPs (Best Management Practices)

is the cost of installing and using these products. The Virginia agricultural Cost-Share

program helps to cut down on the costs. Sometimes farmers are paid by the amount of

acreage they own; other times they get a straight 75%. The most money an individual can

receive for BMPs is $50,000. Another method used is encouraging farmers to purchase

conservation equipment such as sprayers for pesticides and fertilizers, and manure

applicators. When they do so, they can receive up to $3,750.

     Farmers and everybody else can do their part in keeping the bay clean if they want to.

We need to keep the bay clean so there will be clean water for many more generations to



For more info on pollution contributed by farmers:

For more info on pesticide pollution:

For more info on livestock pollution:


For more info on corn based ethanol:


For more info on farmers stats:

For more info on BMPs:

For more info on the costs of a clean bay:




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Cost Incentives                                                                                 Rappahannock H.S.-Settle


     While driving in the famous Northern Neck of Virginia, one will encounter many

beautiful farms that have been around since the dawn of America. The luscious green

fields cover the sides of the road on both sides, but that is the furthest extent to what we

as bystanders see. We do not see the thousands of pounds of fertilizer or the hundreds of

 gallons of herbicides and pesticides that it takes to achieve such a crop as this. The

effects of these products do not just have a good effect on the world by producing very

high yields of grain, but they have many negative effects as well, including many on our

local watershed, the Chesapeake Bay.

     When a farmer places five hundred pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per acre on his bare

field, 20% is lost by rainwater runoff. The loss of fertilizer not only affects the bank

account of the farmer, but the entire ecosystem of the nearest watershed. When the

fertilizer enters the water in the spring of the year, the newly blooming algae suddenly

finds a tremendous amount of nutrients, and hits a massive growth spurt. When this

happens, the cloud of algae block out the much-needed sunlight required by the many sub

aquatic grasses. When the sunlight cannot reach the grasses, they die, and the natural

purifiers cease existence. After the grasses cease functions, the impurities can wreak

havoc on the bay area.

     After the grasses die and the pollutants in the water start to dominate, we now reach a

 pivotal point in a marine community. When the small animals that once fed on the

underwater grass deplete the left over supply, they also perish. In a short time, the result

has worked its way up the food chain, and is now endangering the whole environment. Now,

we as neighbors to the bay have to make changes in our everyday life to help supplement

what is already lost, and prevent further damage. The major question is brought to the

table, how do we do it?

     Cost effectiveness is a major issue with farmers of this era. The price of fertilizer is

growing, and farmers are looking for an alternative to the high prices they have to pay. 

Here is an idea that will benefit us both. Commercial grain farmers on average pick up

about 50-75 acres of land a year. When the farmer picks up a new tract of land, place it

in a cover crop to supplement the use of fertilizer. True, it will have to lie dormant a year

for the cover crop to take hold, but it will save a farmer $1,831.25 per fifty acre field,

versus applying 300 pounds of 10-10-10 per acre reaching a grand total of $2643.75.

     Pesticides and herbicides play a vital role also in harming the bay. The pesticides reach

the mud on the bottom and lie dormant until activated by a current,  a fish stirring in the

mud, building a pier.  If ingesting enough, the fish will die, and if consumed by a larger

being, will make its way up the food chain. If a farmer plants a buffer along field edges

that do not already have a natural wood line, it will greatly reduce the runoff that carries

these harmful chemicals into the watershed. Although not always cost effective to the

farmer some aid may be provided for land that he one day might want to pass to his son.

This process wonít completely solve the problem, but will do its share to help in the valiant

effort to save the bay.


     No matter how hard we as society try, we will always produce pollutants. Substances

that are harmful to the environment may be vital to us as human beings, and we canít fully

dispose of their uses. The only thing we can do is give a good effort to controlling the use

of them and how much of them are used. Farmers, homeowners, and even motor vehicle

owners have to realize that we only have one bay, and when its gone, its too late to take

action, so now is the time.




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Milky & Manure                                                                                Rappahannock H.S.-Settle


      Over the years, farmers have always struggled to be sure that the crops generate a POV:

profit income.  The use of fertilizer was a big and great discovery; the earliest method was

 manure. Many argue now that manure is not good for the environment.  Today it is obvious

that it would not be safe for us to be drinking water with manure bacteria in it.  Are the

methods used today for disposing of manure really harmful?

     The farmers are always hit hard.  It is hard enough for farmers to make a living as it is.

  Then they have to be regulated.  These regulations cost a significant amount.  According

to, 90% of all farm familiesí income is from off-farm work.  This is due to the

increasing regulations and rules they must follow that are many times more expensive than

the way they were running their farms. 

     Land costs are on the rise, equipment prices are rising, and the fuel used to power those

 machines and the ones used to transport the products to market are on a steady increase.

  Being a farmer isnít cheap, and if you are a new farmer it is even harder to get started.

Many people are buying perfectly good farmland to put buildings up when there are already

 buildings that arenít being used.  Farmers usually already have house payments, car

payments, equipment payments, and the land they are using may be rented.  Dairy farmers

have expensive needs just as a grain farmer would have and in addition the cost of the

dairy cows.

     Manure is a problem for dairy farmers also. Many suggest that farmers gather the

manure in a containment lagoon and dispose of it properly.  A dairy cow produces 80

pounds of manure per 1,000 lbs. of body weight.  Dairy cows are usually between 1,000

and 2,000 lbs.  How is a farmer supposed to gather all of this manure and dispose of it at

a dumping site?  An effective method of controlling this manure is to keep the cows moving

between pastures.  Rotating the cattle makes it easier to control what area the manure is

in.  Dairy farmers have had to concrete their milking stalls so the waste is easier to

manage.  The farmers concrete the stalls and when it is time to clean the stalls, they spray

them with a water hose.  The water then runs into a little pool and into a lagoon.  The water

 will eventually end up in a holding tank and the water will be cleaned and used again.  Many

 farms only use this water to clean the stalls. 

     Most farmers also will gather all the manure possible and eventually use it for

fertilizers for crops or to help the pastures produce more grass for the cows to consume.

 Much of the manure that the cow produces is left where it is grazing.  Farmers must scan

the pastures to find manure and collect it.  At the same time the cows are producing more

manure for the farmer to collect.  This is a never-ending ineffective method.  This would

be done all day and never be finished. 

     Many farmers live near a body of water.  The cows like to wade in the water and drink

from it.  This is dangerous because the cows do not pay attention to where they drop their

manure.  The manure goes into the water and eventually will go into someoneís drinking

supply and will fertilize the stream causing eutrophication.  Keeping the cows from wading

in the waters, they are saving the banks of the rivers from collapsing as well as saving the

water from being polluted.  The farmers must find another method of providing the cows

with drinking water.  This is also an arduous task for farmers. 

     ďCost sharing or matching means that portion of project or program costs not borne by

the federal government,Ē is the definition given by the Office for sponsored programs. 

Many of the financial assistance programs for farmers have one main qualification: you

must use BMPís (Best Management Practices).  Some may have more or less restrictions on

who can apply.  The Department of Agriculture and Risk Management Agency help fund a

cost share only open to dairy farmers.  This cost share helps to pay for brokerís fees and

ďpurchase only Ďputí options on milk features contracts.Ē




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The Lone Ranger                                                                               Rappahannock H.S.-Settle


     The Chesapeake Bay watershed is 64,000 square miles into six states. The bay over POV:

time has been put into submission and held there waiting for it to crumble. All of these

pressures include the cars we drive to the fertilizers we place on our farmland and yards.

All of these factors and thing we as humans do are pollutants that are washed back into

the bay. These pollutants are killing animals and plants causing major problems with water


     The big question is ďwhat is a watershed?Ē A watershed is an area of land that drains

into a particular river, lake, bay, or other body of water. There are over 100,000 streams

and rivers called tributaries that drain rain water and used water back into the bay.

Everyone in this watershed can affect it by doing normal habits such as driving or washing

their car spraying there garden with chemicals to help it grow.

     Farmland can be a big problem. Excess nitrates from fertilizers causing birth defects

and depleting the oxygen in rivers and streams affecting the bay itself. Farmland runoff

carries away fertilizers, manure, and toxins from farm equipment. Each of these is

ingredients to cook up a big pot of disaster. Farms are one of the major parts of our world

 that helps feed the people and animals in America. Americaís farms supply us with grains,

eggs, milk, meat, and other foods. These foods are essential but need fertilizers,

pesticides, and tilled soil to be produced. If farmers keep their growth process and donít

try to help change or improve there practices the way will one day crash and not support us

 human like we wish.

     So what should we do about all of these problems? Adhere to BMPs which will help

protect and reduce the pollution and runoff problems. Some basic practices are use to

organic fertilizers that release the nutrients more slowly, maintain farm equipment for

minor leaks, keep barn lots and feeding areas clean. Farm runoff can be reduced by

planting buffers to slow the runoff. These basic practices have helped reduce the nutrients

 such as nitrogen by 48 percent, phosphorous by 51 percent, and the reduction of sediment

 loss by 48 percent. Top soil is a nonrenewable resource.

     Throughout the planning of helping protect and clean our Chesapeake watershed there

have been many best management practices that have been put into place. Every little thing

we do can help or hurt the one thing that affects us the most our water supply: Letsí

protect our watershed; it best for the future.




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corn not ethanol                                                                               Rappahannock H.S.-Settle


     The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. The Chesapeake Bay is POV:

12,000 years old. It covers 64,299 square miles and part of six states (New York,

Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia). In all, the Chesapeake Bay

foundation estimates it will cost $8.5billion to achieve the goal set for 2010.Others say the

 cost could be as high as 20 billion.

     We, as farmers try to keep our water on its best condition, so our crops can grow

healthy. Although it may costs a lot of money but itís worth it.  If we do put a lot of money

on trying to keep the water clean we will be able to grow healthy crops for our community.

Because of the quality of the water, our crops can grow and produce more so we can still

sell our crops and keep the water clean. If we have polluted water and we do not do

anything about it that water may turn our crops into an unsanitary food source. We

farmers understand that we take a big percentage on the pollution.

     We farmers understand that we cause a big percentage on the pollution. We actually

cause the 40% of the pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. Any time farmers pollute the water

it is because of not being careful. One way to reduce the pollution is to reduce the use of

fertilizer. Fertilizers and other substances kill aquatic life, thus affecting humans to.

Fertilizers make the Death Zone bigger, increasing the amount of algae. The Death Zone is

where the amount of oxygen presence cannot sustain life. It

Stretches for hundreds of miles in the summer when fertilizers cause algae to grow.

Decomposing of dead algae removes oxygen from the water.      Our animals can also

contaminate the water by their waste. We can use the waste as fertilizer for our crops a

and in that way we donít have to use commercial fertilizer thus decreasing the problem on

pollution, by nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other nutrients needed for plant growth.

By using our animal waste we wonít be putting money into commercial fertilizer.

     If the animals we have in our farms drink the contaminated water, they may become

sick thus sickening the consumers that buy our livestock. By this we would loose a

substantial income in our livestock. By fencing we can keep our animals out of the streams.

     The most pollution comes from fertilizer from gardeners that do not take precaution

when using fertilizers. Sometimes people do that just because they want to finish their job

fast. They donít think of the consequences and the effects the fertilizers are going to have

 on the future. We need to take actions to enforce laws already on the books to punish

those who contaminate our Bay.

     The environmental defense fund recommends many ways to clean up the Chesapeake

Bay: by targeting funds and giving attention to conservation practices that have proven

most cost-effective in reducing farm runoff; by making traditional conservation

practicesósuch as nutrient management system and practicesóthat will help both the Bay

and the farmersí bottom lines; by increasing research and education to promote widespread

 adoption of todayĎs innovations and to develop tomorrowís rewards; by increasing resource

 for technical assistance and financial rewards for farmers who produce clean water and

other environmental benefits; by improving the ability to track conservation funding and verify which practices are actually implemented; and determining the nutrient and sediment load reductions the practices generate.




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  From:   Girls Just Wanna Farm - farmer - RHS                                                  Ask


     I just noticed that you mentioned substituting animal manure for commercial fertilizer

     would cut down on pollution to the bay. Both of these fertilizers will add nitrogen and

     phosphorous to the bay if we are not careful. We just need to make sure that no

            fertilizer is getting to the bay, not just commercial fertilizer.








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