This week, the National Association of Farm Broadcasters’ 2012 Washington Watch attendees enjoyed the chance to learn about water quality and farming in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed during a tour of Corn Board Member Chip Bowling’s farm.

Situated in Newburg, Md., Bowling’s fields overlook the Bay, providing attendees with an up-close look at farming practices used in the area and a scenic backdrop for expert discussion panels.

“Like most farmers in my area, I place incredible importance on using the best, most up-to-date conservation practices on my farm,” said Bowling.

“As farmers, it is only natural that we act as good stewards of the land, which provided for our families in the past, present and, with care, will in the future. In the grand scale of a multi-generational farm, we work the earth for a short time. 

“During my time, I aim to make sure I leave the land in an even better condition than when I took over so it will provide abundantly for my children.”

The tour, organized with the help of NCGA, offered further insight into the issues surrounding the Chesapeake Bay Watershed through three panel discussions addressing this common theme from differing perspectives. 

Grouped according to area of expertise, one panel included representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, one included non-governmental organization representatives involved in the issue with participants from The Fertilizer Institute and The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and a panel of farmers operating in the area. 

This producer panel included former NCGA Corn Board Member Jamie Jameson, who has practiced no-till farming since the 1970s, as well as Bowling. Farmers heavily involved in soy, wheat and poultry rounded out this panel.

(Legislation introduced into Congress earlier this year could help growers comply with Bay cleanup efforts. For a look at the proposal, click here. There are some who claim what eventually happens in the Bay area will impact agriculture across the United States. To see those comments, click here).