grazing

A project by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will try to get farmers in Pennsylvania and three other states to raise more livestock by grazing rather than growing food crops.

Water-quality projects aimed at Lancaster County farmers, dairy producers  and even faith-based groups were handed out Monday in Lancaster as part of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

With matching money, aid given out for projects for work in Lancaster County totals almost $6.5 million.

 These projects received funding:

Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership, $1 million with $1 million matching funds. Turkey Hill Dairy is requiring its producers of dairy products to have conservation plans in place as part of new contracts.

Working with the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, the grant money will be used to assist farmers in preparing the plans.

— Chesapeake Bay Foundation, $850,000 with $850,000 matching funds. The project will promote rotational grazing of fields in Lancaster and five other counties.

The goal is to get 30 farms to transition to grazing their livestock as opposed to growing feed in fields, resulting in a reduction of 82,000 pounds of nitrogen, 7,000 pounds of phosphorus and 656 tons of sediment.

— Lancaster Farmland Trust, $198,463 with $520,000 in matching funds. The group is working specifically with Plain sect farmers to put in place sustainable farm methods that are increasingly demanded by consumers.

— One Water Partnership, $1 million with $1 million in matching funds. The project’s goal is to get 36 congregations in Pennsylvania and Maryland to install green infrastructure measures on their properties.

Grants were handed out Monday at the Cork Factory Hotel at the biennial Chesapeake Ag Forum, a conference that brought together about 150 officials and partners advancing agricultural conservation practices across the bay watershed.

Among those attending were U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker.

The grant money comes from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state-federal Chesapeake Bay Program.