Ohio ag groups challenging Kasich’s water quality focus

Not happy with prospect of executive order that would restrict farming practices in Lake Erie watersheds

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Lake Erie island shore
Lake Erie (Farm and Dairy file photo)

COLUMBUS — A group of Ohio farm organizations is not happy with Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s public statements about placing restrictions on farming practices through executive order, and are calling on the governor to engage the industry in his administration’s approach to protecting Lake Erie.

Leaders of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio Soybean Association are frustrated that the Kasich administration has not reached out to the ag industry to discuss his water quality proposals.

“From what we understand, the governor has not talked to lawmakers or anyone who will have to deal with the consequences of an executive order,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “I can tell you for a fact, any decision is being made without input from the ag community.”

The groups believe the executive action will create broad controls over farmers who are working to reduce nutrient runoff that contributes to algae formation in Lake Erie.

Separate legislation, called Clean Lake 2020, has gained the support of lawmakers, farmers and members of the environmental community. It unanimously passed in the Ohio Senate and Ohio House and is headed to the governor.

“The importance of fixing the lake’s problems cannot be overstated. Going about it the right way is equally important,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau.

“We can help the lake without hurting our ability to produce food and create jobs.”

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