Chester County is still has a great number of farmers and agricultural land. As such, the farming community is an important partner in helping to ensure clean water and healthy watersheds. Their stewardship of the land is vital to the well-being of all the County’s residents. This document–A Farmer’s Guide for Healthy Communities–gives a great summary of how the farming community works to help ensure a healthy and prosperous Chester County.
A conservation plan is a document developed by the farmer and a certified conservation planner. It identifies resource concerns, describes alternative actions which will address the resource concerns, records the farmer’s decisions of what changes will be made and provides a schedule for the implementation of those changes.
All animal operations in Pennsylvania that generate or land apply manure, regardless of scale, are required to have a one of two types of plans: either a Chapter 91 Manure Management Plan or Act 38 Nutrient Management Plan. These plans document nutrient sources, whether through generation, storage, treatment, transfer, or land application, and aim to keep them separate from clean water resources to protect local and regional water quality. The type of plan needed is dependent upon the animal numbers or density of animals on the operation.
Mushroom Farm Environmental Management Plan (MFEMP)
A Mushroom Farm Environmental Management Plan is a carefully planned and documented record outlining how the mushroom farmer intends within practical limits to manage the farm operation to prevent pollution incidents and to maintain and improve the conditions of the soil, water, and air resources. All farms which produce mushrooms, mushroom substrate, and all mushroom soil processors are required by law to have an MFEMP.
There are several funding programs to help agricultural land owners and operators implement practices that improve water quality. The Chester County Conservation District coordinates many of these programs with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Some CWMP Planning Team Partners also coordinate funding for agricultural practices in specific watersheds.