For Immediate Release
November 19, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – Ohio farmers will take another step forward in their efforts to protect Lake Erie under a new law moving through the Ohio General Assembly, according to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF).
Farm Bureau is supporting the nutrient management amendment to House Bill 490 (HB 490) because its provisions benefit Lake Erie, include practices that are workable for farmers, apply to a well-defined geography and include appropriate penalties for non-compliance.
Additionally, HB 490 provisions are based on existing standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, which farmers say are effective and practical.
HB 490 contains a ban on the spreading of manure or commercial fertilizer in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) when conditions are conducive to nutrient runoff. These conditions include frozen and snow-covered ground, when the top two inches of soil are saturated by precipitation or when there is at least a 50 percent chance of precipitation in the weather forecast. However, the law will allow application under the above conditions if the nutrients are injected into the ground, incorporated within 24 hours of surface application or are applied to a growing crop.
The bill passed the Ohio House today and is expected to soon be taken up in the Senate.
Farm Bureau’s policies call for water quality solutions that are science based, economical and balanced. Ohio Farm Bureau members and staff engaged with state agencies and lawmakers to apply these principles as HB 490 legislation was developed.
This is the second piece of nutrient management legislation passed recently with the support of Ohio Farm Bureau. Senate Bill 150, the first of its kind in the nation, became law this summer and requires farmers to receive training to become certified to spread fertilizer. Part of Ohio Farm Bureau’s $1 million Water Quality Action Plan aims to have farmers in the WLEB certified by this coming spring, more than two years ahead of the state deadline. Ohio Farm Bureau, other farm organizations and Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have committed additional millions of dollars to the effort to protect water and preserve farming.
As farmers continue to adapt to additional regulations and adopt new voluntary measures, Ohio Farm Bureau is calling on municipalities, homeowners and others who impact water quality to become equally active in finding solutions to Ohio’s water challenges.
CONTACT: Joe Cornely
PHONE: (614) 246-8230