Polluted Runoff from Agricultural Lands

Our Waterkeepers are working to reduce agricultural pollution in the waterways of the Chesapeake Bay and coastal watersheds. As the largest source of pollution, reducing agricultural pollution is essential to meeting the pollution reduction goals of the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan (TMDL).

Our priorities:

  • Pushing for greater transparency and accountability for the agricultural industry.
  • Insisting that states improve regulation of industrial factory farms known as CAFOs.
  • Keeping excess poultry manure from polluting our waterways.

Our campaigns:

Our  Fair Farms campaign is building a fair and just food system through a movement of Marylanders of all stripes, working together for a new food system — one that’s fair to farmers, invests in homegrown, healthy food, and restores our waterways instead of polluting them.

The Million Acre Challenge helps Maryland farmers build soil health, increase farm profitability, and improve water quality — while making farms resilient and active in the face of climate change. This farmer-focused collaborative uses soil health science, economics, education, and incentives to achieve no fewer than one million acres of healthy soil in Maryland by 2030.

The Enforcement, Engagement, and Empowerment for Change on the Eastern Shore (E3) Initiative seeks to defend and implement pollution-reducing policies; pressure government and industry to meet community-led demands for accountability and solutions; accurately track agricultural pollution impacts on water and people; and create a level playing field for small and sustainable farmers. E3’s work focuses on enforcement of environmental laws, advocacy for policy reform, community organizing, and operation of new citizen air and water monitoring networks. E3 aims to ensure that any expansion of the poultry industry on Maryland’s Eastern Shore does not harm the health of local residents or pollute waterways.

Latest Posts

Webinar on Solar Siting and a Film Reception on Soil Health

Waterkeepers Chesapeake’s Fair Farms and local farmers are hosting two events to provide legislators with information on how to support food resiliency, soil health and water quality. Webinar: Finding Common Ground in Solar Siting Tuesday, February 7 – 3:00pm to 4:00pm Join us to discuss solar siting policy that supports farmers, is good for water quality, … Read more

The Farm Bill & Opportunities for Water Quality

The Farm Bill, a massive and complicated piece of federal legislation that is renewed every 5 years, is up for debate and renewal in 2023. Waterkeepers Chesapeake invited Harry Huntley, Senior Agriculture Policy Analyst with the Environmental Policy Innovation Center, to a special convening of our Farmer Advisory Council and Waterkeepers. He lended his expertise … Read more

Meet Our New Agriculture Policy Specialist, Devora Kimelman-Block

Hello, my name is Devora Kimelman-Block and I’m thrilled to be the Agriculture Policy Specialist for Waterkeepers Chesapeake and its Fair Farms campaign. You may have already met me as a contractor for Fair Farms when I focused on building regional agriculture centers by fostering coalitions that advocate and apply for new public funding. I … Read more

Funding Composting Infrastructure will Improve Healthy Soils: An Interview with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Sophia Jones

According to a 2021 report by the Environmental Integrity Project, Maryland landfills release far more greenhouse gas emissions than previously thought. They account for 37% of the state’s methane emissions. A large portion of this methane comes from the decomposition of food waste, which makes up 17% of the waste dumped in Maryland landfills. Eliminating … Read more

Partner Spotlight: Morris Hill Farm

Written by Fair Farms intern Grace Callahan About two weeks after moving to Maryland from Florida in a truck stuffed with parts of a hoop house shelter, David and Vicki Haberkorn got their first batch of broiler chickens. They hit the ground running in 2018 when they started Morris Hill Farm in Tracy’s Landing and … Read more