From day one of the current General Assembly, its to-do list started with creating a law to restrict the application of manure and fertilizer on frozen, snow covered or saturated ground in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). Likewise, Gov. John Kasich made it a priority. With Ohio Farm Bureau’s involvement, the resulting legislation balances clean water and food production.
Amended substitute Senate Bill 1 addresses Ohio Farm Bureau’s top priority by giving farmers time to request assistance. Farm Bureau successfully argued for provisions that allow farmers to apply for reasonable deadline extensions while they’re working to come into compliance.
The bill allows for common agronomic practices that are proven effective for water quality and workable for farmers.
SB 1 also recognizes that water quality is a shared responsibility; it contains nonagricultural provisions dealing with the dumping of dredge material and with water quality monitoring.
Kasich signed the bill, and its provisions go into effect later this summer.
Farm Bureau will work with lawmakers and the administration during the budget process to secure additional resources to help farmers in the WLEB comply with the bill and address the state’s water quality challenges
Next month’s Buckeye Farm News will detail the new law, progress with Ohio Farm Bureau’s Water Quality Action Plan and other steps farmers are taking to lead the effort to protect Ohio’s water.