OFBF to make $1 million investment in water quality program


COLUMBUS — The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has launched a $1 million water quality action plan, with special emphasis on the Western Lake Erie Basin.

The plan includes two goals: Farm Bureau will help all qualifying farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin obtain required fertilizer certification by Earth Day 2015. This April 22 target date would bring farmers into regulatory compliance 29 months ahead of the state-required deadline.

Also, Farm Bureau will help farmers in the watershed create nutrient management plans by Earth Day 2016. These plans exceed state legal requirements.

OFBF will also hire a second staff member to specialize in water quality and nutrient management.

Action steps

Other Farm Bureau action steps announced in the plan include:

• Partnering with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and various state agencies, to establish a network of demonstration farms, which will assist in farmer training and show the public how viable farming and resource protection go hand in hand.

• Working to gain additional funding for on-farm research projects.
• Securing funding for farm conservation programs.
• Seeking resources for septic and rural water infrastructure improvements.
• Partnering to promote public drinking water system improvements.
• Supporting county Farm Bureau activities centered on local water issues.

OFBF also will increase its commitment to Healthy Water Ohio, a coalition of conservation, business, university, water suppliers, tourism, public health and farm interests who are developing a long-range strategy to address the state’s water resources.

The $1 million will complement recent state and federal government funding plans. OFBF’s programming is primarily paid for by membership dues.

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