Water quality and dairy farms: A summer meeting you shouldn’t miss

Planning a program in the summer for dairy farmers is a pretty dicey proposition, which is why we usually don’t. It is difficult to guess when most people will be done with a cutting of hay and not involved with some other field operation. So except for field days and on-farm twilight meetings, we rarely do.

However, when a topic or topics arise that seem pretty important, we make an exception. That exception will be next Monday or Tuesday, depending on where you live.

Policy update

A critical farm policy update will be held Monday, June 24, in Wayne County at Jake’s Restaurant just east of Wooster, and Tuesday, June 25, in Mahoning County at the MetroParks Farm just south of Canfield.

In April, the board of the Ohio Dairy Producers Association (ODPA) met in Columbus. In addition to the usual board types of activities, they spent a significant amount of time visiting with Scott Bailey, director of the Ohio EPA, about water quality regulations impacting agriculture (dairy in particular), proposed legislation, and how municipalities, which also impact Ohio’s waters, are regulated by OEPA.

As a result of this discussion, board members felt it was important to make sure we are all aware of some of the pending legislation, due to the real impacts it will have on all facets of our dairy operations.

Worth your time

Please make the time to learn about these issues impacting agricultural nutrients — of which our cows make many — including potential licensing of farms to apply fertilizer similar to the system we now have for pesticide application.

Scott Higgins, chief executive officer of the Ohio Dairy Producers Association, will outline the issues and share the background and current status of these issues in Ohio.

Stay up-to-date

Fortunately, our agricultural organizations, including Farm Bureau and the ODPA, have been monitoring and providing input on these issues. However, legislation and regulations are not finalized, and the more you are involved in shaping the outcome, the better for agriculture.

Water quality and nutrient management are issues that are, and will be, an everyday fact of life in the dairy industry. Invest in the future by being involved in the process that shapes how we manage them.

Free, but make reservation

Plan to join us for these dairy farm policy updates June 24 at Jake’s Restaurant, on old 30 east of Wooster in Wayne County, or June 25 in the MetroParks Farm meeting room located across from the Canfield Fairgrounds in Mahoning County.

The meeting, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., includes a free lunch provided by ADA Mideast, part of your checkoff dollars. We must have reservations so sufficient lunches available, so call or email Extension Educators Rory Lewandowski at 330-264-8722, lewandowski.11@osu.edu (Wayne County); or Eric Barrett at 330-533-5538, barrett.90@osu.edu to make reservations as soon as possible.

See you there.

About the Author

(Dianne Shoemaker is an OSU Extension dairy specialist located at the extension center in Wooster, Ohio.) More Stories by Dianne Shoemaker

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