July 24 &25: Ohio Ag and Lake Erie Water Quality Issues Educational Program for Farmers

Ohio’s family farmer organization is joining a respected environmental advocacy group to educate and hear from northwest Ohio farmers and others who are interested on the topic of a cleaner Lake Erie Water basin.

“A healthy Lake Erie is an invaluable economic and natural resource,” said Roger Wise, president of the Ohio Farmers Union.

“All of us know Lake Erie has experienced some incredibly large and harmful algal blooms over the past few years. OFU is joining with the Ohio Environmental Council to put together an event where farmers and others who are dependent upon agriculture can learn and share their views and experience. This is a controversial topic for some in agriculture, but it is one that we need to address as an industry and a local economy,” Wise added.

Specifically, Wise is talking about the blooms of cyanobacteria – often called blue-green algae – that have plagued Lake Erie in recent years. Increasing levels of dissolved phosphorous in the lake’s water have been tied to these pollution events which are not only smelly and unsightly, but can emit toxins dangerous to human and animal health. The Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorous Task Force has said that the sources of the dissolved phosphorous are numerous but list agricultural fertilizers and sewage treatment plants as chief sources. OFU has adopted as one of its public policy priorities this year the promotion of voluntary nutrient pollution measures on Ohio’s farms.

OFU and the OEC will hold two northwest Ohio Lake Erie education programs on Wednesday, July 24 at Terra State Community College, 2830 Napoleon Road, Fremont, Ohio and Thursday, July 25 at the Schnipke Inn, 202 W. Main Street, Ottawa. The program will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided at no cost, but RSVPs are required. To RSVP please contact Linda Borton at 800-321-3671 or lborton@ohfarmersunion.org.

Earlier this month, Research scientists from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Ohio Sea Grant and Heidelberg University predicted that harmful Algae will Once again bloom in Lake Erie in 2013. They predicted that this year’s bloom will be significantly worse than 2012, when the drought reduced runoff and nutrient to the lake.

Please join with us (OFU, OEC, NRCS and SWCDs) to discuss the importance of nutrient management, soil quality and conservation practices.


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