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Farmers, algae and the media
by Joe Cornely, OFBF senior director of corporate communications
A recent Toledo Blade carried the headline Area farmers on the front line of clean water battle. The story reports farmersí efforts to improve water quality. Itís considerably different in tone than most of whatís printed on the issue.
For example, these excerpts from a recent Associated Press story:
The International Joint Commission identifies farm fertilizer as a primary culprit in feeding runaway algae blooms. It recommends placing Lake Erie on a federal impaired waters list, which would activate a plan to limit phosphorus levels. It particularly targets the Maumee Bay watershed in Ohio and Indiana on the lake's western side, proposing a 39 percent annual reduction in phosphorus runoff from its tributaries through a combination of regulations and voluntary actions.
Water quality and agriculture stories will be on the front page for months and years to come. Ohio Farm Bureau is working with reporters to draw their attention to agricultureís commitment to accept responsibility and act responsibly. You, too, can affect whether news stories are positive or negative toward agriculture.
Be a part of the conversation. Check out this list of steps farmers are already taking. Engage with the media and bloggers. Let them know that their story is incomplete if it only says farmers are part of the problem. Youíre also part of the solution.