The Ohio Farmers Union will bring together scientists and agricultural experts in late September in a forum on seeking solutions for the annual algal blooms in the western basin of Lake Erie.
The forum will be held Sept. 22, 1 p.m., at Forrester’s on the River, Boers-Boyer Way, 26 Main St., Toledo. The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated to Linda Borton, Ohio Farmers Union, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OFU President Joe Logan said it’s important for farmers to acknowledge their part in Lake Erie’s woes, and that OFU is trying to help spread the word on innovative farm management practices that assure that farmers are doing their part to protect Ohio’s waters.
“Farms dominate the landscape in the western Lake Erie watershed and farmers use many tons of phosphorus and nitrogen to grow crops – so people naturally look toward agriculture as a contributor to Lake Erie’s excess nutrient loads,” Logan said.
“Farmers always try to keep nutrients on their land, but the increasing intensity of rain storms make doing so more challenging. Farmers may need to embrace new management practices and new technology,” he added.
OFU’s forum will include speakers:
• Jeffrey M. Reutter, director, Ohio Sea Grant & F.T. Stone Laboratory
• Todd Hesterman, NW Ohio coordinator, Conservation in Action
• Gregory LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension
• Adam Rissien, Ohio Environmental Council
Logan said OFU is committed to information on water quality and agriculture being “fact and science-based.” He also said that broad, regulatory programs may not be the silver bullet for solving Ohio’s water quality issues but “innovative agricultural practices, along with targeted state and federal regulations will be more likely to attain our goals.”
Logan hopes the forum will be a reasoned and productive discussion among farmers, scientists, urban interests and agency officials that can support their collective effort toward saving Lake Erie.
“We have a very serious problem threatening a crucially important state, national and international resource – it’s time for everyone to get on board and begin working together toward an effective solution.” Logan said.
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