Ohio Farmers Union Calls for Targeted State Action on Algal Blooms
In wake of Toledo problems and recent forum, family farm group feels a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach may not be best for farmers on environment.
COLUMBUS – Ohio Farmers Union President Joe Logan said today that Ohio agriculture can and should be a part of fixing Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms (HAB) and outlined several policy positions OFU may take to state legislators later this year and into the next General Assembly.
“The information we have to work with today tells us that the there is a problem in the Lake Erie watershed, but not the specific sources or locations. There’s a hole in the data; we need to fill that hole,” Logan said.
House Agriculture Chairman Dave Hall told Hannah News last week that his committee will continue to pursue H.B. 490 in the lame duck session of the legislature after the elections. The bill in its current form is supported by OFU due to water quality and safety measures related to the handling of wastewater from Ohio’s growing fracking industry.
The bill also includes some ag provisions including moving the state’s agricultural pollution abatement program – which focuses on livestock farming – from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture. Logan said H.B. 490 could be an important part of Ohio’s effort to control nutrient runoff and the algal blooms they can feed.
OFU will ask Hall’s committee for an amendment to H.B. 490 that would do two things. First, for ODA to establish procedures for all operators of confined animal feeding operations or their third party distribution contractors to report the amount of manure delivered to other persons and the location to which it was delivered. This is to address a so-called ‘manure loophole’ in state regulations where manure distribution from a regulated location is outsourced, stretching the chain of accountability to the breaking point.