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Local Farmers Work to Protect Water Quality
Crestline – Crawford County Farm Bureau made a donation of $2,000 towards a water quality research project being conducted by the Ohio State University, OSU Ext, and the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service. The research project will conduct edge of field water quality analysis in tile drainage and surface runoff on farms throughout the state. Additional partners of the multi-million dollar research project include the Ohio Soybean Council, the Ohio Corn Marketing program and the Ohio Small Grains Marketing program, among others.
The study, which will include two monitoring stations in Crawford County and dozens more in Northwest Ohio, will monitor water discharge from farm fields and correlate nutrient loss with soil type and the management practices used by the farmer. The data collected from this research will improve standards and practices used by farmers to reduce their impact on Ohio’s water resources.
The donation was made during a program for area farmers provided by Richland and Crawford County Farm Bureau, along with sponsorship by the Ohio Livestock Coalition, and was held on Friday, June 21st. The event, with more than 30 attendees, discussed the impact agriculture is having on water quality in the State, what state policy changes are on the horizon, and the efforts farmers are taking to address and lead the way towards improving Ohio’s water resources. Speakers at the program included Dr. Larry Antosch with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Jason Ruhl with Richland County NRCS, Mike Hall with Crawford County Soil and Water Conservation District and Dr. Steve Prochaska, OSU Extension Associate Professor and Field Specialist in Agronomic Systems.
Water quality is an issue that affects all Ohioans. As algal blooms from excess phosphorus runoff in the Western Lake Erie Basin and Grand Lake St Marys become an ever greater environmental concern, farmers throughout the state are taking notice and working proactively to minimize the impact the industry has on our shared water resource. “Ohio farmers are accepting responsibility and working proactively to improve water quality in the State,” according to Dr. Larry Antosch with Ohio Farm Bureau.
“Producers in Crawford County are doing some amazing things to help protect water quality” said Mike Hall. Among several projects and practices, Hall spoke on drainage water management structures which allow farmers to capture rainfall for utilization during periods of low rainfall. This technique allows farmers to better manage their water resources and reduce nutrient runoff, while also working to increase yield. Additionally, incentives such as cover crop and nutrient management planning through NRCS and grants from local conservation districts, are being utilized by area farmers to help protect water quality.
“While the research is continually evolving, we know that agriculture plays a major role in contributing to the States water quality problems, but the farming community is ready to accept the challenge,” said Dr Steven Prochaska with OSU Ext. With commitment from local farmers and organizations like Farm Bureau, it appears he may just be right.