Ohio budget supports ag, water quality

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Gov. Mike DeWine signed the Ohio budget July 18. The budget includes support for agriculture and for water quality improvement efforts. (Submitted photo)

COLUMBUS — The two-year Ohio budget Gov. Mike DeWine signed July 18 includes support for agricultural organizations and water quality improvement efforts.

Water quality support

The budget created the H2Ohio fund and allocated $172 million to the fund over the next two years for research and projects to address water quality issues. The funding will be split between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

According to an ODNR press release, the organization will use its funds on coastal and interior wetland projects to filter water going into Lake Erie and other waterways. The wetland projects will also provide new habitats for Ohio’s plant and wildlife population.

The ODA will use its H2Ohio funds to support best management practices for farmers and improve and protect state waterways. The EPA will use its money on watershed planning, scientific research and data collection.

Agriculture funding

The budget also increases funds for Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the ODA and extension services.

SWCD funding includes money for the Soil and Water Phosphorus Program for efforts including soil testing, equipment, water management and a revolving loan program.

The ODA received funding to spend $350,000 each year on a program to support county soil and water conservation efforts in the Western Lake Erie Basin.

For those enrolled in Current Agricultural Use Valuation, the budget expands the complete defense against nuisance suits, providing more protection against these suits for farmers.

Supporting small business

The final version of the budget maintains the business income deduction. This follows negative feedback to a previously proposed reduction to the business income deduction that would have raised taxes by $1 billion for small businesses.

Organizations such as the Ohio Farm Bureau protested the original change.

This budget signing comes 17 days after the June 30 deadline. Since then, Ohio has operated under a temporary budget.

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