Tennessee Clean Water Network © 2019

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Farm Programs

Agriculture contributes to 44% of the pollution in impaired streams across our state. There are about 67,000 farms in Tennessee covering approximately ten million acres - just over 40% of the state.

 

TCWN works with the state and farms to protect our streams and wetlands. We support farmers seeking to protect their land from encroaching development, erosion from heavy use, and excessive nutrient or toxic pesticide use, all of which threaten crops and livestock water supplies.

We also work to ensure agricultural practices are not harming our waterways. Runoff from over fertilization or poor waste management can get into our streams resulting in high nutrient loads and low dissolved oxygen as well as pathogen problems. Poor land management can contribute to destabilization of streambanks and channelized streams.

Responsible farming practices and sustainable land management benefit everyone. 

Factory Farms
Factory farms - referred to as "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations" in the regulatory world - can be a significant source of water pollution. This is why these farms are essentially the only agricultural practices regulated by the Clean Water Act. These facilities raise a significant number of animals on a small piece of land – imagine 100,000 chickens or 1,000 cows – and must deal with the huge amount waste produced by these animals, waste containing e. coli and other harmful pollutants. This waste has to be properly managed so it doesn't run off into your drinking water source or your favorite fishing hole.  This is why proper regulation of factory farms is important.
Agricultural Runoff
 
Agricultural runoff is water leaving farm fields due to rain, melted snow, or irrigation. As the runoff flows through the fields it picks up everything that has been applied to the land - including herbicides, pesticides, manure and fertilizers. The chemicals in the pesticides and the e. coli, nitrogen, phosphorus, ammonia and other pollutants in the waste can flow into adjacent waterbodies, contaminating our water quality. Simple practices such as stream buffers, nutrient management, and cover crops can significantly reduce polluted agricultural runoff.