Agriculture is the leading
source of pollution in
Pennsylvania and can be
addressed by the most
Smaller farms in Pennsylvania must have manure-management and sediment- and erosion-control
plans to limit runoff of manure fertilizer and soils, but compliance may be as low as 30 percent.
Pennsylvania’s Ag Needs
The Keystone State has a lot of work ahead if
it is going meet its milestone pollution-reduction targets for agriculture. Compliance, or
the general lack thereof, is a key shortcoming.
(See President’s Message, page 2)
A recent report by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) found deficiencies in how Pennsylvania implements its
animal agriculture programs. It sends
a daunting message to regulatory agencies, conservationists, and the farming
community that the Commonwealth
needs to accelerate efforts if it is to meet
requirements of the Chesapeake Clean
Agriculture is the leading source of pollution in Pennsylvania and can be addressed
by the most affordable remedies. State and
federal assistance for design and implementation are available to help farmers
In detailing the deficiencies, EPA said the
Commonwealth relies too heavily on voluntary compliance with existing laws, and
does not have a consistent approach or sufficient resources to ensure that farms are
meeting the requirements. Pennsylvania
also lacks a compliance strategy and,
according to EPA, does not appear to be
conducting inspections unless a complaint
While smaller farms in the Commonwealth
must have manure-management and sediment- and erosion-control plans to limit
runoff of manure, fertilizer, and soils, compliance has been estimated to be as low as
Changing the culture toward compliance
in the Commonwealth won’t happen
overnight, or without investment. It will
take meaningful resources to support the
Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP), the state conservation commission,
and conservation district staff, as well as
the technical design and implementation of
the necessary conservation practices.
The Pennsylvania Department of
Agriculture and DEP responded to EPA’s
report, agreeing that it “shines a light” on
opportunities for improvement and highlights the need to “reset the conversation”
about the Bay.
It is imperative that the Commonwealth
acts. Pennsylvania has more miles of rivers
and streams impaired than any other state.
EPA said if Pennsylvania is to stay on track
to meet its commitments and the Clean
Water Blueprint goals, additional emphasis
is needed on improving implementation in
the agriculture and urban stormwater sec-
tors and trading program.
Pennsylvania must get on track to make
sure its people have clean water. Restoring
local water quality means a healthier
Susquehanna River, a better way of life, and
a legacy worth leaving future generations.
uFor more information on other happenings
in Pennsylvania, visit cbf.org/Pennsylvania.