Skip

Grazing System and CRP Help Effort to Keep the Chesapeake Bay Productive

Lush, healthy growth covers this pastureland inside the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Lush, healthy growth covers this pastureland within the Cheasapeake Bay Watershed
Full screen view
As part of their grazing system, the landowners installed fencing, gates, and laneways to control livestock
As part of their grazing system, the landowners installed fencing, gates, and laneways to control livestock
Full screen view

Under the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) farms can pick from a wide variety of conservation practices to protect soil, water, and air quality. The program provides incentives for farms, including beef farms like that of the Altemose’s, to install practices to protect the environment.

Michael Altemose signed up for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI) in April of 2010. Although Michael’s farm was amongst a group many deserving farms that signed up, his resource concerns quickly won him favor in the government ranking process. The Altemose Farm is located in Whitney Point in Broome County. The farm has a little over 80 acres of rolling hills and is quickly working to achieve its goal of running roughly 80 head of feeder cows.

“The Altemose farm installed fence, laneways, watering facilities, a pond and spring development to start the groundwork of establishing its grazing system. Following his grazing plan will guarantee him sufficient feed and will cut back his supplemental feeding costs. Although Michael doesn’t foresee himself going organic, he does wish to be “natural.” Fencing animals out of the stream and signing up in the CBWI program is going to help him do that,” said Justin Puglisi, Broome County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Grazing Specialist.

The spring development's concrete collection tank is surrounded by filter cloth to prevent fine soil particles from entering the water supply
The spring development's concrete collection tank is surrounded by filter cloth to prevent fine soil particles from entering the water supply
Full screen view

“We moved here from Pennsylvania three years ago wanting to build a farm, a legacy of quality beef. I want it to be a place that my children and hopefully grandchildren can be proud of, while at the same time being good for the environment,” said owner Michael Altemose.

In addition to the prescribed grazing, fence, watering facilities, pond, and spring development through CBWI, the farm participated in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and installed buffer and a stream crossing to prevent sediment from adding to the total maximum daily load in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. NRCS was able to cover most of the costs for the Altemose farm through its partnership with the Broome County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program.

USDA Farm Service Agency - Conservation Reserve ProgramBroome County soil and Water Conservation DistrictThe Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers within Chesapeake Bay priority watersheds to help plan and implement conservation practices to protect the environment while helping producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations. Examples of projects include barnyard improvements, establishing a rotational grazing system, and fencing animals out of watercourses. If you are interested in learning how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your local NRCS office.