The Virginia Grain Producers Association (VGPA) has joined 29 agricultural and forestry organizations in submitting comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding water quality regulations it is proposing for the Chesapeake Bay. 

VGPA also submitted comments separately specifying concerns of grain producers. Both comments outline the agriculture and forestry community’s concerns with the Agency’s draft Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements for the Bay, while calling attention to the significant contributions of agriculture to water quality improvement in the Chesapeake Bay.

“Farmers work every day to make their operations more efficient, not because of regulations or a new law, but because it is the only way we can continue farming. As we noted in our comments, ‘Mandates do not achieve water quality but, willing participants do.’ The agriculture community supports water quality protection and has already made significant progress in improving our region’s waters.” said VGPA President Eugene Longest. 

“In fact, Virginia agriculture has already met 52 percent of our nitrogen goals and 50 percent of phosphorus and sediment goals all through voluntary measures and incentive based programs.”

“VGPA has asked repeatedly for reality-based, sound science to go before any new regulations, yet EPA continues forward with the TMDL standards with admittedly inaccurate information.”

VGPA comments state that EPA’s models do not account for many of the voluntary agricultural and forestry practices that are currently being employed in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and as a result, the draft TMDL fails to acknowledge the success that has been achieved in the Bay by the efforts of the agricultural community and others.