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Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president, sent the following letter to the editor to The Toledo Blade in response to The Blade Editorial Board’s opinion piece, “Plan to protect Lake Erie needs teeth.” The Blade published Sharp’s response July 31, 2022.
High standards are a great thing when it comes to solving northwest Ohio’s algal bloom issues, but for The Blade Editorial Board, those standards seem to be an elusive moving target. They often call out the governor, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio EPA and, more than any one individual or entity, farmers, for what the editorial board calls a lack of regulations, efforts or results when it comes to water quality.
Most recently, the editorial “Plan to protect Lake Erie needs teeth” was quick to point out that a preliminary plan for a TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, falls short of their high standards. They falsely claimed that the overwhelming source of the problem was identified by the TMDL in the form of manure runoff. Nowhere in the TMDL’s Preliminary Modeling Results Document was this or any statement close to this included. However, this rhetoric is very familiar to what is spewed by extremist groups that use Lake Erie’s issues as a guise to push a much more destructive agenda against animal agriculture.
Ironically, almost a year ago when a TMDL was first announced for the Maumee River watershed, the editorial board celebrated and told readers that “This is, at last, the answer to what ails Lake Erie. It is the only way to save the lake, save our source of clean drinking water, save the state’s fishing and tourism industries, and save the quality of life for the region.”
The governor, ODA, Ohio EPA and farmers across the Lake Erie watershed have made significant advancements for clean water. Soil samples, being taken at a higher rate than ever before, are showing levels of phosphorus declining, while at the same time the thousands of farmers enrolled in Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio water quality initiative are doing even more best management practices on millions of acres across the region. Add to that a TMDL that the editorial board has been clamoring for and you would think the board would acknowledge the progress that is being made.
Perhaps it is time for members of the editorial board to adhere to their own high standards to get the facts right, think for themselves and give credit to those who are actually driving progress forward, instead of giving misguided directions from the backseat.
Executive Vice President
Ohio Farm Bureau
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