US agriculture secretary touts farm efforts in bay cleanup - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

US agriculture secretary touts farm efforts in bay cleanup

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says conservation practices by farmers have reduced runoff into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

A report released Thursday shows farmers have made significant progress reducing sediments, pesticides and other pollutants that flow into the bay. More than 15 million tons of sediment have been reduced annually. That's enough to fill 150,000 cars on a train that would stretch from Washington, D.C., to Albuquerque, N.M.

Vilsack said the study shows farmers and ranchers are reducing nitrogen pollution by 48.6 million pounds each year and reducing phosphorus by 7.1 million pounds.

He credits voluntary, incentive-based conservation measures.

After years of neglect, the bay is amid a multi-year, multi-state restoration led by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Virginia, West Virginia, Washington and Maryland are among the clean-up partners.

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