Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, January 21, 1984, Image 38

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    A3B—Lancaster Farming, Saturday, January 21,1984
Md. unveils
conservation effort
ANNAPOLIS, Md. Maryland
Secretary of Agriculture Wayne
Cawley has unveiled plans for
beefing up the state’s soil con
servation program to help clean up
the Chesapeake Bay.
Speaking at the Maryland
Association of Soil Conservation
Districts’ (MASCD) winter
meeting in Ocean City last week,
Cawley said that he was confident
that his department would receive
the additional $1.5 million in ad
ministrative funds and $7 million
in cost share funds that was
requested from the Governor.
The money is needed, he said,
because “our system has lost
much of its efficiency. Programs
have grown faster than {districts’)
abilities to administer them.”
The funds would be used to
finance a five-point plan which
would include upgrading district
staff to a minimum base level,
targeting additional support to
areas with critical soil and water
problems, expanding conservation
research and education programs,
providing additional cost share
money to farmers to offset the cost
of installing practices and
proceeding with enforcement
action against farmers “who
outright refuse to cooperate.”
Cawley also announced that
there would be a reorganization of
the state funded conservation
program. The State Soil Con
servation Committee would
become strictly a policy setting
board and administrative and
personnel matters would be
handled by a new staff person who
would report to the Secretary.
He reassured those present that
the reorganization would not affect
the independence of the 24 local
soil conservation districts.
“Districts are the most capable
and the best equipped
organizations to control nonpoint
source pollution,” said Cawley. He
added, however, that he was
“firmly convinced that unless
agriculture can demonstrate that
we can effectively handle the
nonpoint pollution program, we
could lose control.”
At their business session,
MASCO members voiced support
for bay cleanup proposals, calling
on the Governor and general
assembly to enact them in the
upcoming legislative session.
Conservation officials are
becomiong increasingly concerned
about the high erosion rates on
leased farmland. According to
Gerald R. Calhoun, Soil Con
servation Service, the amount of
land owned by absentee lan
downers is increasing and so is
erosion. “Farmers who lease land
on a year-to-year basis are
reluctant to spend money on
conservation measures when they
can’t be assured of reaping the
benefits,” he said.
District officials called on the
state and federal governments to
set an example for private lan
downers by requiring conservation
plans on publicly owned land.
Call Now To Place Your
Ph: 717.394-3047 or 717-626-1164
MASCD will ask the Governor to
direct state agencies to set
priorities for getting conservation
measures completed on state
owned land used for agriculture
within the next five years. They
will also ask that long-term leases,
which would require renters to
follow a conservation plan, be
mandated. They voted to ask the
Marland congressional delegation
to introduce legislation requiring
the same thing on federally owned
In other actions, MASCD
members passed resolutions
to ask the Agricultural
Stabilization and Conservation
Service to cost-share on sub
surface drainage and
reaffirming their own com
mittment to their role as local
conservation leaders.
Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Wayne Cawley, right, sports a cap with the State
Soil Conservation Committee's new logo for water quality. The logo, which includes the
slogan "Maryland Farmers: Partners with the Bay," is intended to make farmers and the
public aware that agriculture can help clean up the Chesapeake. Presenting the cap at
the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts meeting in Ocean City last week
was Joseph Scott, chairman of their information and education committee.
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