Lake Erie

From trends in soil tests that show marked improvement in water quality over the last 20 years, to the ongoing on-farm best practices research being done in northwest Ohio to help farmers find the best nutrient management solutions for them, water quality is always a literal work in progress for the Ohio Farm Bureau.

The 2022 Water Quality Status Report highlights how signature water quality initiatives and partnerships such as the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network along with H2Ohio, and its farmer certification piece the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative, have had major roles improving and protecting clean water, one of the state’s most valuable resources.

However, further work is done quietly behind the scenes by Ohio Farm Bureau staff and volunteers to help guide the state and region to a healthier H2O future. Ohio Farm Bureau members are represented on multiple advisory boards and committees by staff that ensure the voices of farmers, landowners and agriculturalists are heard.

“Our policies are developed via a locally driven, grassroots process and support the development of programs, policies and regulations that are scientifically sound, based on credible data, practical, realistic, economically feasible and whenever possible, delivered in a flexible and voluntary manner,” said Larry Antosch, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director of policy development and environmental policy. “By being actively engaged in these discussions, we have the opportunity to ensure that the realities of farming in today’s economic and environmental conditions are understood and considered and that the decisions being made are consistent with our policies.”

The latest report’s highlights include:
  • The continued growth of the H2Ohio water quality initiative, now available to farmers throughout the Lake Erie Watershed to improve and enhance best nutrient management practices.
  • Recent soil test data from The Fertilizer Institute, which found that the number of soil samples tested for Ohio increased from about 69,000 in 2001 to nearly 274,000 in 2020. Over the same period, the median soil test phosphorus levels dropped 32% from 38 to 26 parts per million (Mehlich 3).
  • How weather and climate have the biggest roles in reducing the phosphorus load into Lake Erie, as rains of over 1 inch or more have increased by 50% increase in the last 30 years compared to the prior 30, making it impossible to put any measures in place to keep nutrients in the field.
  • Ohio Farm Bureau’s ongoing involvement in the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative. The mission of OACI is to recognize farmers for their dedication to advancing methods that improve water quality in Ohio and increase the number of best management practices being implemented on farms.
  • The importance of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Public Policy water quality staff members representing the interests of the organization’s members on several advisory boards, work groups and committees across the state and region.

The report is available as a PDF or link.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.

This is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Ty Higgins, 614-246-8231 or [email protected].

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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