Senate Bill 1 is in effect, which means farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin are restricted when it comes to applying nutrients on frozen, snow-covered and saturated ground or under certain weather conditions.
Saturated ground is when the top two inches of soil are saturated with precipitation. The weather conditions that restrict fertilizer application occur when there is a greater than 50 percent chance of one inch of precipitation in 12 hours, and in the case of manure, a greater than 50 percent chance of a half-inch of precipitation in 24 hours.
Tony Seegers, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of state policy, reminds farmers SB 1 and its rules apply to farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin, in an attempt to reduce and prevent harmful algal blooms in the basin. The principles of smart nutrient management are sound, regardless of location.
Small farms may be eligible for a grace period to allow more time to come into compliance. If granted an exemption, small farms have until July 1, 2017 to complete the requirements. Forms may be obtained from local Soil and Water Conservation District offices.
Seegers said the Ohio Department of Agriculture has jurisdiction over violations and has rules that define minor and major violations for manure and fertilizer. Someone would have to contact ODA to report a farmer who they believe is in violation. A hearing would be held and if the director finds the farmer was in violation, a civil penalty may be assessed. Each day fertilizer or manure is applied in violation of the restriction is a separate violation. The civil penalty can be up to $10,000, for a major violation, and the farmer can appeal.
County Farm Bureau offices have copies of the brochure “Do You Farm in the Western Lake Erie Basin?” which provides additional clarification on farm size exemption and what Senate Bill 1 requires. Download
Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper app helps farmers comply
Knox County Farm Bureau and Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District worked together to create the Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper (ONMRK), a free mobile app that helps farmers statewide comply with requirements that further regulate nutrient application.
The ONMRK app features drop-down menus that make it easy and quick for farmers to record their fertilizer or manure application as well as record the current weather conditions and forecast for the next 24 hours. Those records can then be printed through an Internet portal. The app, which instantly links farmers’ data and updates whether they are recorded through a mobile device or from a computer, is available to farmers at onmrk.com.