The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, in partnership with Turkey Hill Dairy, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, and nine other partners, was recently awarded $4 million to continue supporting dairy farmers in South Central Pennsylvania with on-the-ground improvements through the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership (THCWP). Funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

This award enables the partnership to continue providing technical and financial assistance to producers. The THCWP has had success by leveraging grant dollars to pay for 100% of the cost for conservation/nutrient management plan development, as well as up to 75% of the cost of installing those conservation practices outlined in their plans through previous awards from NRCS and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. These practices not only ensure the farm operations’ sustainability as businesses, but they also prevent soil loss and reduce the amount of nutrients entering local streams.

In 2018, Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership introduced a requirement for all farmers supplying milk to Turkey Hill to obtain a heightened level of on-farm conservation through developing conservation plans. Since then, the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership has approximately 260 dairy farms (equivalent to 25,150 cows) of which 39 farms have been supported with conservation planning and/or on-the-ground projects are complete or underway. Additionally, the partnership has:

  • Cost-shared installation of 66 agricultural best management practices (BMPs)
  • Covered 100% of the cost for 29 new conservation plans to be written
  • Planted 645 trees (5 acres) on participating farms

Received national recognition as the Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration Award recipient from the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Alliance in 2020

Since its inception, a large goal of the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership has been to inspire other businesses to create environmental change within their operation, and the RCPP award guarantees that their business neighbors are listening. The Alliance has been in conversation with a few other local businesses within the agricultural industry who call the Chesapeake Bay region their home and are eager to create similar change within their operations. The RCPP award will support the Alliance’s efforts to expand this supply chain-driven model for the benefit of water quality and communities across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

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