Lancaster County Farmer Roger Rohrer Named A 2019 Chesapeake Bay Champion
The Chesapeake Bay Program named Lancaster County farmer Roger Rohrer one of three 2019 Chesapeake Bay Champions at the Chesapeake Watershed Forum in November.
Roger Rohrer is an outspoken advocate and model steward and one of Pennsylvania’s most valuable assets in restoring riparian forests.
A life-long farmer from Lancaster County, Roger enrolled 4.5 acres in Crop Reserve Enhancement buffer program in 2000 after learning about the then-new initiative.
With much trial, error, planting, and replanting, Roger’s first buffer eventually established.
But the buffer didn’t only grow trees- it also grew Roger’s passion and voice for riparian forest stewardship.
Through nurturing his streamside land, Roger became a champion for Chesapeake forests whose influence cannot be overstated.
Now retired from an off-farm career as a banker, Roger was enticed by the economics of CREP buffer rental payments versus the income he was earning from farming other marginal streamside land.
Roger enrolled another 4.3 acres as a CREP buffer in 2009, leading him to discover the riparian forest co-benefit that hooked him- buffer wildlife habitat, and the whitetail deer that dwell within.
An avid hunting family, the Rohrer’s celebrated the return of trophy buck to their property, which further stoked their stewardship ethics.
After keeping 1.3 remaining streamside acres buffer-free to utilize as pasture for a few more years, Roger rounded out his buffer installations and reforested the final area through CREP, too.
Now featuring multiple, varied-age buffer zones, Roger’s lands are an ideal site for educating new conservation professionals working with riparian forest buffers. Roger has hosted countless field days, educational tours, site visits, and conference field trips.
Roger has influenced his Plain-Sect neighbors and community members, captivated through their interested in hunting the prize deer, like the buck that seemed to favor Roger’s property.
Roger took it upon himself to mentor interested individuals on deer habitat needs, and the ins-and-outs of riparian reforestation. Roger’s neighborly outreach has resulted in a string of reforestation projects emanating from his property.
Pennsylvania conservation leaders have recognized Roger’s effectiveness as a messenger and spokesperson. Roger is unrivaled at speaking to other farmers about agricultural conservation practices and has been tapped to speak at countless farmer meetings and field days.
As a farmer colleague who has direct experience with- and passion for- riparian forests, Roger often gets farmers to immediately act and establish new streamside forests of their own.
Roger influenced Pennsylvania’s Phase III Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan development as an integral part of PA’s Forestry Workgroup.
His wisdom and opinions are helping shape new goals for buffer implementation; Roger was a critical part of a small team that challenged Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Workgroup on their hesitancy to see riparian reforestation as a more viable, critical way to reach statewide goals.
It was Roger’s personal stories and convictions that successfully changed mindsets and attitudes.
There are no exact numbers quantifying Roger Rohrer’s legacy and impact on Chesapeake Forests beyond the 10+ acres of forest buffer he has fostered on his own land, but many can attest to the fact that the results of Roger’s words, wisdom, and enthusiastic willingness to advocate for Chesapeake Forests within the agricultural community in Pennsylvania are wide-ranging, long-lasting, and well worthy of recognition.
Visit DEP’s PA Chesapeake Bay Plan webpage for more information on plans to meet Pennsylvania’s obligations to cleanup our rivers and streams to meet Chesapeake Bay obligations.
(Photo: Roger Rohrer standing in the riparian buffer he planted in 2001 - Stroud Water Research Center video.)
Bay Journal: Cruel World Awaits Newly Planted Forested Stream Buffers Without Maintenance [Rohrer Shares His Experiences]
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[Posted: December 12, 2019]
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