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This midstate farm has reduced runoff to cut water pollution

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 10, 2016 3:31 PM
lancastercountyfarmfield.jpg

(Manchester Township, York County) -- Pennsylvania has a plan and federal money to clean up the Susquehanna River.

The top state's agricultural official points to one farm that he says is doing it right.

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently visited York County farmers Steven and Dan Gross.

They've reduced runoff from their Manchester farm to the Conewago Creek, which flows into the Susquehanna River.

Steven Gross remembers what it was once like.

"When I was a kid, we used to swim in the Conewago Creek, which is just over the hill here. And there was sediment in it, it burnt your eyes, I'll be honest. And now, that water's clear," says Gross.

Meanwhile, Redding says farmers shouldn't have to pick between running successful businesses and improving the environment - he believes they can do both.

"We have said often that there are coequal goals to the Chesapeake Bay. Water quality for sure, but also viable farms. And you won't get the first without the second," he adds.

Pennsylvania has $3 million in federal money to distribute to farms to better control runoff and improve the river's water quality.

It's lagged behind other states in the watershed in helping clean up waterways that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.

Farms are also being surveyed to document steps they've already taken to reduce runoff.

The Susquehanna River is the Bay's largest tributary.

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