Environmental officials today toured farms in Lancaster and Dauphin counties to promote healthy farms, clean water and conservation.
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and representatives from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance) were in the field meeting with dairy farmers and key corporate partners to discuss collaborative efforts while marking National Agriculture Week.
EPA National Agriculture Advisor Rod Snyder and EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz highlighted successful partnerships for producing food in ways that benefit the farm and the environment, including local waters and the Chesapeake Bay.
“It’s important for EPA to be in the field to see firsthand how these partnerships provide the resources farmers need to continue their environmental conservation work,” said Ortiz.
The group is touring two farms: a Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) member farm supplying milk to Turkey Hill Dairy, as well as a Land O’ Lakes member-owner farm supplying milk to the Hershey Company.
These farms are being supported by Alliance projects like the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership, a partnership between the Alliance, Turkey Hill Dairy and MDVA, and Sustainable Dairy PA, a joint effort between the Alliance, Hershey, and Land O’Lakes, which take a collaborative approach to incentivizing dairy farmers in increasing on-farm conservation efforts.
“The benefits of this initiative for improved water quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions can serve as a partnership model well beyond the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” Snyder said.
The Alliance has been developing agriculture supply chain partnerships since 2018, leveraging approximately $16 million in public and private funding to assist over 150 farmers.
The funding provided by EPA, NFWF, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), has created a model that local companies are now adopting to increase sustainability in their dairy supply chain and help bring cleaner water back to their communities, EPA said.