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Friday, January 11, 2019

Wolf Administration Announces Public-Private Initiative to Promote Innovative Farming Practices for Health, Environmental, and Economic Benefits in Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell today joined six public and private partners in launching the High Performance Farms Initiative to help increase environmental sustainability, economic benefits, public health, and soil and water quality by promoting innovative farming practices in Pennsylvania’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

“The health of our farms, soil, and water is inextricably linked to the health of our communities,” said Secretary Redding at a ceremonial partnership signing event at the 103rd Farm Show. “This initiative recognizes that stewardship of our farms and natural resources is also linked to our dinner plates and farm gates.”

Joining the Department of Agriculture and DEP in the High Performance Farms Initiative are the State Conservation Commission, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, the Rodale Institute, the Pennsylvania Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and Bell and Evans Farms.

“In Pennsylvania, we want vital communities. We need healthy farms. We rely on economic development that sustains jobs and thriving businesses,” said Secretary McDonnell. “The High Performance Farms Initiative represents a growing energy across sectors for expanding partnerships that generate innovative approaches to ensure this quality of life for Pennsylvanians.”

Partners in the High Performance Farms Initiative will develop a program demonstrating that:
• Healthy waters rely heavily on the agriculture sector. Reducing pollution from stormwater runoff requires a holistic, regional and watershed approach encompassing rural, urban, and suburban sectors.
• Practices that improve soil health also improve nutrient management and long-term sustainability of farms.
• Organic feed and food is a growth market with long-term environmental, health, and economic benefits. This requires the development of market drivers and financial incentives to increase farmers’ transition from traditional practices.

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