Mid-Atlantic Farmers Bring Food to the Table

West Virginia Cattle Operation (Courtesy Will Parson, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay)

West Virginia Cattle Operation (Courtesy Will Parson, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay)

By Cosmo Servidio

March 27, 2020: This Week is National Ag Week – an opportunity for us to celebrate our farmers and ranchers for all that they do to ensure our food remains safe and plentiful for consumers.

Farmers produce food for our local communities – and the world – while being responsible stewards of the land. I always say that farmers and ranchers were the first environmentalists. They know that healthy farms depend on clean water and clean water depends on healthy, well-managed farms. The conservation practices they put on their land improve farm efficiency, the health of our soils, and the health of our local streams.

Every year, $15.6 billion of agricultural products are sold in the Mid-Atlantic region from over 135,000 farms and 21 million acres of cropland. Pennsylvania is number 1 in the country in mushroom production and number 2 for certified organic sales. The Delmarva Peninsula is home to many Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia farmers and a top chicken-producing region in the country. And West Virginia has the highest percentage of family-owned farms in the nation – with poultry and beef being a big part of their sales. Agriculture is a vital part of our region, our culture, and our economy.

Over the past year I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet with over 1,000 farmers throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. There is nothing like being out on a farm, talking to farm families, and seeing firsthand how farmers are stewards of the land, true innovators, and resilient in the face of many challenges.

During National Ag Week we want to show our gratitude to farmers and ranchers, and all those who are part of the food supply chain, for all that they do to put food on our tables and protect our land and water. Our federal family will continue to support their efforts to achieve those essential goals.

 

About the author: Cosmo Servidio is the Regional Administrator for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region.

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