Ohio House ag committee still working on nutrient bill


SALEM, Ohio — Members of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee hope to have their version of a new farm nutrient control bill submitted to the full House this week.

The committee held its fourth hearing on H.B. 61 Feb. 24, which is similar to a Senate-approved bill that prohibits the application of fertilizer and manure to snow-covered ground, and provides various other requirements related to keeping farm nutrients out of public waterways.

Brandon Ogden, legislative aide to Committee Chairman Brian Hill, R-Zanesville, said the committee had hoped to have the measure to the House last week, but needed more time to review the provisions.

“We wanted to make sure the product was error-free,” he said.

Moving the bill

Ogden said the committee planed to continue its work on the bill March 3 and again March 4, if necessary, before presenting it to the full House.

The Senate approved its own water quality measure, known as The Clean Lake Erie Act, by a unanimous vote Feb. 4.

Ogden said the House committee wanted to hear from all parties before it approved a bill, which it did by holding hearings in northwestern Ohio.

“The commodities have told us we’ve included them more than they’ve ever been included before,” he said.

Key differences

While the House and Senate bills are very similar, they also contain some key differences. The Senate bill, for example, includes some language that would give the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency more responsibility in coordinating algae-related responses.

The two bills also differ in how they treat nutrient application before a rain event.

Review clause

Also, the Senate version has a five-year sunset clause, that would end the prohibitions, unless the state’s legislative ag committees recommend to the governor that the restrictions be continued. The House bill proposes a three-year review process.

Farmers testified that a review was necessary, to evaluate future issues and technologies that could change the situation.

Both bills allow for civil penalties, to be determined in rules, but not to exceed $10,000.

Related Coverage:

Ohio Senate passes water quality bill.

Governor’s budget includes water quality plans.

Senate moving ahead with water quality regulation.

House Ag Committee holds hearings on water quality bill.

House approves new manure application rules (H.B. 490)


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Chris Kick served Farm and Dairy's readership as a reporter for nearly a decade before accepting a job at Iowa State University Extension. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University.


  1. …does either bill say what forecasting authority us farmers have to pay attention to when making applications of fertilizer? I’m wondering if the NWS has it wrong..and the local meteorologist has it right…how many phone calls my neighbors are going to make when I’ve applied fertilizer or manure and it rains a couple inches 24 hours later.

    • The current Ohio Revised Code regarding nutrient management (1501:15-5-05 Land application of animal manure) lists NOAA’s National Weather Service forecasts as the “ruling” forecast: “(5) Shall not surface apply manure if the local weather forecast for the land application area contains a greater than fifty per cent chance of precipitation exceeding one-half inch for a period extending twenty-four hours after the projected start of the land application of manure. Records of the local weather forecast shall be kept and made available upon request by the chief or the chief’s designee. Local weather forecasts and hourly weather graph information is available at http://www.noaa.gov.”


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