Rep. Jim Buchy
March 22, 2014
Farmers are the backbone of our local economy, so it is important to provide them with tools to continue to prosper while protecting local waterways. Ohio agribusiness men have worked tirelessly to adapt to changing circumstances around them by adopting nutrient management plans in order to preserve our natural resources and protect the soil.
One piece of legislation being considered by the legislature would further improve these efforts. Senate Bill 150 focuses on reducing nutrient over-loading on Ohio ground. It accomplishes this goal by requiring training for agribusinessmen spreading chemical fertilizer on farm ground. The farmers in the Grand Lakes St. Mary’s Watershed have served as excellent examples of responding to the need to protect Ohio’s waterways by voluntarily adopting nutrient management plans. The positive steps made in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed are paving the way for changes to agriculture statewide.
Senate Bill 150 will require farmers with 50 or more contiguous acres to attend a continuing education course on fertilization application. This certification process will support practical and feasible best management practices.
The bill will ultimately build on the efforts of the Ohio Farm Bureau to promote the 4R program to improve farming practices throughout Ohio, by advocating for the right nutrient, at the right time, in the right amount, in the right location. The best way to improve farming practices in Ohio is through education, and this bill takes a step in the right direction.
Although nutrient management plans are completely voluntary, Ohio’s major agricultural groups support creating a plan to help farmers meet the new industry requirements. There are resources available, such as Ohio State Extension, professional agronomists, the Soil and Water Conservation office, and the Farm Services Agency, to help agricultural professionals develop appropriate nutrient management plans. By having a state -approved nutrient management plan in place, affirmative defense may provide legal protection to farmers.
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Rep. Jim Buchy can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (614) 446-6344. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.