Willard works with the Delmarva C4R Alliance to advance agriculture and the environment
The second annual Delmarva Conservation Partnership meeting was held January 18-19, 2017 at Chesapeake College. More than 60 partners gathered from diverse backgrounds and organizations including conservation organizations, agribusiness, government agencies, the scientific community and local farmers. The Delmarva Conservation Partnership was formed in 2015 by the Nature Conservancy and Delaware-Maryland Agribusiness Association with the goal of working together to ensure clean water, habitat for plants and animals, and thriving agriculture across the Delmarva. “This unique partnership that brings together the agribusinesses and conservation communities has been invaluable in advancing both environmental and agronomic goals,” stated Lindsay Thompson, Executive Director of the Delaware-Maryland Agribusiness Association.
Scientists traveled from across the country to talk about soil and water management, hydrologic connectivity, and the effectiveness of best management practices. The forum also featured a panel of local farmers and agribusiness professionals including Allen Davis, Kyle Hutchison, Jonathan Quinn, Eddie Taylor, and Mike Twining, who discussed advanced nutrient management and conservation practices on their farms. Partners were interested to hear that all of the farmers are using some method of variable rate nutrient application or seeding, yield monitoring and mapping, nitrogen modeling, and a variety of conservation practices. The meeting yielded a great deal of information about which practices are working, the state of the science on hydrology and nutrient transport on the Delmarva, and what information is still needed to improve soil health and reduce impacts on regional water supplies.
“The Delmarva Conservation Partnership meeting is a terrific opportunity for our coalition to share information, discuss next steps, and generally get to know one another,” said Amy Jacobs, Agricultural Program Director for The Nature Conservancy in Maryland/DC. “These type of exchanges are vital for us to better understand each other’s perspectives, share our current understanding of local agronomic, environmental, and economic processes, and identify opportunities to work together so we can continue to make meaningful progress toward both our agricultural and environmental goals.”
Understanding that both clean water and thriving agriculture are essential to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva’s economy, the partnership seeks to continue to accelerate adoption of agricultural conservation practices and strategically protecting and restoring wetlands and natural buffers. Over the last two years, the partnership has coordinated implementation of 8,200 acres of advanced nutrient management, restored 312 acres of wetlands and 98 acres of buffers, and protected 1,319 acres of natural lands.