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An update on farm nutrient legislation
On Nov. 20, the Senate Agriculture Committee heard testimony and accepted five amendments to Senate Bill 150, legislation to address nutrient management and water quality in Ohio but delayed a vote while more work is done. That gave Farm Bureau staff time to work on improvements for the bill and allowed Ohio Farm Bureau delegates an opportunity to review and amend Farm Bureau policy on nutrient management at the annual meeting.
Some recent changes to the proposed bill include: fertilizer application certification required if applying fertilizer on 50 or more contiguous acres instead of 10 acres; improved criteria for the certification program to include education on 4R Nutrient Stewardship and to support generally accepted, practical and economically feasible best management practices; record keeping for farmers with fertilizer applicator certificates was narrowed and clarified; fertilizer application records would not be required to be submitted to ODA, but ODA could review the records upon request; no penalty (administrative or criminal) for a “paper violation” for failing to maintain records; focused scope of ODA authorities; and removed potential duplicative ODNR authorities over fertilizer.
It is expected that the legislature will move on the bill after the first of the year.
For greater detail on the proposed nutrients bill and Ohio Farm Bureau’s views, visit ofbf.org and search "SB 150." To learn more about nutrients and Ohio soils, see Ohio Farm Bureau’s two online e-learning units on water quality/nutrient management that are available for members.