Adapted from The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation
COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Farm Bureau just released it’s 2022 Water Quality Status Report. The report highlights how signature water quality initiatives and partnerships such as the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network along with H2Ohio, and its farmer certification piece the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative, have had major roles improving and protecting clean water, one of the state’s most valuable resources.
Work to improve water quality is a team effort for agriculture, and the report highlights the activities of multiple organizations joining forces in this common cause. Groups include: US EPA Region 5 Great Lakes Advisory Board, Western Lake Erie Partnership Leadership Team, Maumee Watershed Nutrient TMDL Stakeholder Group, Maumee Watershed Modeling Stakeholders Advisory Group, WLEB-OH 4R Program Advisory Committee, Ohio 4R Nutrient Stewardship Council, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Sustaining Scioto Agricultural and Rural Communities Outreach Team, USDA NRCS State Technical Committee, Ohio Certified Crop Adviser Board, Pilot Watershed Advisory Committee, Ohio Lake Erie Commission, and The Nature Conservancy.
Ohio Farm Bureau has championed the cause and provided key leadership along the way. “Our policies are developed via a locally driven, grassroots process and support the development of programs, policies and regulations that are scientifically sound, based on credible data, practical, realistic, economically feasible and whenever possible, delivered in a flexible and voluntary manner,” said Larry Antosch, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director of policy development and environmental policy. “By being actively engaged in these discussions, we have the opportunity to ensure that the realities of farming in today’s economic and environmental conditions are understood and considered and that the decisions being made are consistent with our policies.”
The 2022 report’s highlights include:
- The continued growth of the H2Ohio water quality initiative, now available to farmers throughout the Lake Erie Watershed to improve and enhance best nutrient management practices.
- Recent soil test data from The Fertilizer Institute, which found that the number of soil samples tested for Ohio increased from about 69,000 in 2001 to nearly 274,000 in 2020. Over the same period, the median soil test phosphorus levels dropped 32% from 38 to 26 parts per million (Mehlich 3).
- How weather and climate have the biggest roles in reducing the phosphorus load into Lake Erie, as rains of over 1 inch or more have increased by 50% increase in the last 30 years compared to the prior 30.
- Ohio Farm Bureau’s ongoing involvement in the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative. The mission of OACI is to recognize farmers for their dedication to advancing methods that improve water quality in Ohio and increase the number of best management practices being implemented on farms.
- The importance of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Public Policy water quality staff members representing the interests of the organization’s members on several advisory boards, work groups and committees across the state and region.
The full report is available as a PDF