–A Letter to the Editor of the Baltimore Sun
The publication of the American Farm Bureau’s response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to set a strict “pollution diet” for the Chesapeake Bay (Baltimore Sun, Jan. 9, 2010) provides us with an important opportunity to open up the dialogue between farmers and conservationists. Earlier this month, the Accokeek Foundation hosted a conference titled “Common Ground: Growing Agriculture, Restoring the Bay,” in which policy makers and farmers alike explored ways that profitability and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand. A panel of successful farmers affirmed that, in this region that prizes local food, pastoral landscapes, and a wholesome environment, the farms that are profitable in the future will be those that adopt sustainable practices and help protect and restore the Bay.
The Accokeek Foundation and other organizations with similar standing and expertise in sustainable agriculture should do all we can to ensure that farmers have the tools they need to adopt sustainable practices and find success. I hope that farmers will use this opportunity to work with new environmental regulations and reclaim their rightful role as exemplary stewards of the land.
Wilton Corkern, President