Farmers in Virginia and five other states which border the Chesapeake Bay are caught in the crossfire between federal and state regulatory agencies trying to find a way to put the Bay on a pollution diet and restore water quality to federally set levels by 2025.

If only these farmers were affected, it would be a trial by fire for agriculture in the region. Reality is that more recent moves by the federal government put any such watershed in the U.S. in danger of facing the same regulatory restrictions that threaten to put livestock producers, in particular, and farmers in general from Virginia to New York out of business.

In other parts of the U.S. there is ample indication that agricultural leaders are paying close attention to the progress of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. For example, fruit growers on land that impacts the Puget Sound and empties into the Gulf of Mexico have established a direct line of communication with the Virginia agricultural organizations.

HR 3265, the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act of 2009 set in motion guidelines for a federal takeover of what amounts to putting the Bay on a pollution diet in an effort to clean up 60 percent of the Bay’s water by 2025.

When President Obama, by executive order, named the Chesapeake Bay as a National Treasure, he opened the door for similar action for any watershed in the U.S.