The state of Ohio has committed to reducing nutrient loading into Lake Erie by 40 percent by 2025. This commitment was made as part of the Western Lake Erie Collaborative agreement signed in 2015, which includes similar pledges from Michigan and Ontario, Canada.
Ohio has issued its draft domestic action plan, which spells out steps the state will take to achieve the reduction targets. It deals with point and nonpoint sources. Ohio Farm Bureau has submitted official comments on the proposed state plan.
Farm Bureau’s primary comment is that the draft plan fails to acknowledge the steps that the Ohio agricultural community has already taken to address the nutrients issue, according to Jack Irvin, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director, state and national policy. Nor does the plan recognize that these same private sector stakeholders will be key to future water quality improvements,
Among the specifics listed in Farm Bureau’s comments were millions of dollars in farmer-funded research and outreach and coalition building such as the Healthy Water Ohio initiative. Ohio Farm Bureau also made the case that voluntary conservation measures are effective.
Farm Bureau asked that several portions of the draft plan be more fully explained, including more information on the oversight structure, cost/benefit measurements, collection of additional data, the process for monitoring results and sources of funding for the overall effort. OFBF will continue to be engaged as the state process moves forward.