A Farmer’s Support
Means Cleaner Water
Iwas an environmentalist before I was a farmer,” Charles Bares says one warm fall
morning. Bares has taken time out from
managing his dairy farm, which comprises
5,000 acres and a few thousand cows, to
speak about his support of CBF.
Bares and his family live in upstate New
York—outside the Bay watershed. In fact,
he’s only been to the Chesapeake Bay
region a handful of times. Yet, he generously supports CBF’s work.
“You’re going out there and fighting the good
fight. That’s what I appreciate,” he says.
Bares strongly believes in CBF’s work to
support the Chesapeake Clean Water
Blueprint, a plan that he hopes will influence the cleanup of other polluted waters.
From defending the Blueprint in the courts,
to our hands-on restoration work and our
educational programs, Bares believes that
CBF is laying groundwork that will help
provide clean water to people all over the
“The work that CBF is doing, people are
going to stand on those shoulders,” he says,
adding, CBF is at “the forefront of changing
opinions and getting policy makers behind
you and showing how many people care
and how they can make a difference.”
Bares emphasizes that the American Farm
Bureau Federation—the group challenging
the legality of the Blueprint—does not speak
for all farmers. “They certainly don’t speak for
me,” he says.
Bares traces his passion for protecting the
environment to his enjoyment of the outdoors, which began during his childhood in
suburban Cleveland. He remembers summers spent fishing, birdwatching, and exploring nature, experiences that taught him to
appreciate the environment and inspired him
to become a farmer.
Over the years, the amount of time he has
spent outdoors has given him a unique perspective on the impact of pollution. As an
example, he mentions toads, a species that
has been hit especially hard by pollution and
habitat loss. He describes seeing the amphibians during summers while he was growing
up and compares it to what his children see
today. “To my kids, it would be unbelievable.”
Not content to passively watch these changes
occur, Bares and his brother formed a company that uses technology to reduce agricultural pollution. Known as Rowbot Systems,
Inc., the company produces small robots that
roll through cornfields applying the exact
amount of nitrogen fertilizer that the plants
need. This is a departure from traditional
farming practices, in which fertilizer is
sprayed broadly across fields by large
machines. Although the robots are still being
tested, the idea holds the potential to reduce
pollution and save farmers money.
In addition to his company’s innovative use
of technology, Bares is an advocate for more
traditional conservation methods of reducing agricultural pollution, including utilizing cover crops to prevent erosion and
fencing livestock from streams and creeks.
“It doesn’t take a lot of money; it takes a
willingness,” he says.
He emphasizes that being a farmer and caring about the environment aren’t mutually
exclusive. “There are lots of farmers out
there who don’t want to pollute. They want
to leave their creek behind the barn the way
they found it, for their kids and grandkids,”
he says, adding, “We all just have to take
care of our own little piece of land and lead
u To learn more about the Chesapeake Clean
Water Blueprint, visit cbf.org/blueprint.
Our Giving Community
Charles Bares, a dairy farmer from
upstate New York, is a generous supporter of
CBF’s work to defend and implement
the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
He believes, like CBF, that the Blueprint can
improve waterways across the United States.
A Gift that Gives Back
This holiday season you have two options to save the Bay while giving a unique gift
to a friend or loved one.
CBF Gift Membership—The gift of a one-year membership will support CBF’s comprehensive work to
restore the Chesapeake Bay, while providing your gift recipient exclusive benefits all year long, including a
subscription to Save the Bay magazine, discounts at our online store, and reduced rates on Bay Discovery trips.
CBF's Online Giving Catalog—Baby oysters. Native trees. Field experiences for students.
Environmentally-friendly “virtual gifts” make great holiday presents. All donations support CBF’s efforts
to save the Bay and its rivers and streams.
For more information please go online to cbf.org/gift
or call 888/SAVEBAY (888/728-3229).