State must support farmers to ensure the health of all

The relationship between the environment and farm operations was highlighted during a recent breakfast meeting between area farmers and Patrick McDonnell, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The agricultural community’s relationship with the department is key to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

Farmers have been hearing about the bay’s cleanup efforts for more than a decade.

Farm operations across multiple states have had a huge impact on the bay, more than 250 miles from here, so their involvement in the cleanup initiative has been of utmost importance.

If you think the health of the bay should not be a high priority around here, you better think again, as McDonnell correctly pointed out.

He got it right when he said the initiative to clean up the bay really isn’t just about the bay.

It’s about the quality of local water resources.

We need good clean water, just as we need healthy crops and products that come from farm animals. These are all essential to life.

Unfortunately, the farmers end up paying the price all too often.

Their struggle to make ends meet has been well documented not just in this publication but others locally and nationally.

McDonnell said his department last year was able to reimburse farmers in their efforts to comply with federal regulations impacting them. He hopes to be able to continue that program this year.

We encourage the state to continue it not only this year, but well into the future. The mandate to cleanup the bay carries a 2025 deadline, but the need for fresh, clean water as well as healthy food products are things we need to support for the next 50 years and beyond.


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