Home / Blogs / Alliance Receives $1 million to Fund Cost-Effective Water Quality Improvements on Corporate Partners’ Farms
January 8, 2024
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Lancaster, PA
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay was recently awarded $1 million to continue bringing on-farm conservation practices to Pennsylvania farms that are part of the Alliance’s corporate partnerships. This funding is provided by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Most Effective Basins (MEB) grant program.
As part of the Alliance’s Corporate Sustainability Initiative, the Alliance partners with companies in the agricultural industry to support farmers with their conservation goals. These partnerships allow the company’s leaders and the Alliance team to collaborate, creating a strategy for impactful outreach and priority conservation practices. Additionally, the corporate partner brings Alliance field staff into the relationships they already have with their farmers. Coop staff frequently visit their member farms and are a great source of information for farmers to improve animal welfare, farm finances, and productivity. When coop staff introduce their member farms to the Alliance, the Alliance can build a much stronger relationship with the farmer than if we simply cold-called farmers in our community.
The first time Alliance staff meet with a farmer, our corporate partners introduce us as a valuable resource to the farmer. From there, the Alliance provides on-the-ground technical assistance, educating farmers about conservation and connecting them to resources to make conservation projects happen. The Alliance applies for and manages numerous grants throughout the year, like this recently awarded NFWF grant, for conservation best management practices (BMPs). These BMPs advance water quality goals as well as our partners’ climate goals, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon.
“This funding builds upon the success MDVA Milk has had with the Alliance to assist our farmers to make significant improvements to their operations and reduce their environmental impact.” – Lindsay Reames, Executive Vice President, Sustainability & External Relations, MDVA Milk.
For this MEB grant, the Alliance and partners have selected nine farms to implement shovel-ready projects across Central and Southern Pennsylvania – more specifically, Juniata, Lancaster, York, and Lebanon Counties. Funds will go toward seven riparian forest buffer plantings, seven animal waste management systems for appropriate nutrient management, and over 20 additional practices for improved, on-farm stormwater management and soil conservation.
Riparian forest buffers are areas of native trees and shrubs along a stream that filter out nutrient runoff from farms, hold streambanks in place to reduce soil erosion, provide critical habitat for land and stream species, and store carbon.
Concrete barnyards help farmers control animal manure, so it can be applied as a natural, valuable fertilizer rather than being lost as runoff, which harms stream quality.
Grass waterways protect areas vulnerable to erosion by taking them out of production and growing grasses with strong roots. Cattle crossings, which can cross grass waterways and even streams, provide a healthy passage for livestock and also prevent erosion
A solid manure storage shed is one way to store manure so it can be applied at the right time & rate to crop fields. Roofing over the storage protects rainwater from getting dirty. Solid manure management is one of the best simple ways to minimize methane emissions from manure storages.
The Alliance and partners are leveraging other private investments from corporate partners, such as funding from the Hershey Company, as well as public funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Together, these funding sources allow farmers to accomplish comprehensive transformations of their farms, rather than just a few projects here and there. With the support of these supplemental funding sources, NFWF’s $1 million grant can reach more farms than it could on its own.
Since 1971, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has served as the ‘backbone’ for action-oriented impact and collaboration across our watershed. With four strategically placed offices and four focused programs, we’re positioned to solve downstream problems with upstream solutions. Through boots-on-the-ground solutions, technical assistance, and expertise, we prevent pollution where it begins – on the land – before it reaches our rivers and the Chesapeake. By collaborating with like-minded individuals and organizations, the Alliance becomes a catalyst, building the capacity of others to join and accelerate clean water in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Media Contact: Adam Miller, 717-324-7820, firstname.lastname@example.org
Agriculture Projects Coordinator