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USDA: Voluntary bay efforts working, more needed

WASHINGTON — Chesapeake Bay Foundation officials say a new report highlights the need for continued assistance to farmers in the bay watershed.

The study released Tuesday by the Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service says additional conservation is needed for most of the cropland in the six-state watershed to keep sediment and nutrients such as fertilizer from running into waterways.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker says farmers working on thin margins need public assistance to pay for conservation measures, but face the loss of aid because of a pending congressional amendment to strip funding for a federal bay restoration strategy. Doug Siglin, the foundation’s federal affairs director, notes the study found more pollution comes from cropland in the bay region than the upper Midwest, reinforcing the need for aid.