The  Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) and the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) applaud the recent passage of House Bill 7. The bill, which was recently amended to include all the provisions of Senate Bill 2, creates the Statewide Watershed Planning and Management Program for the improvement and protection of Ohio’s watersheds. OCWGA and OSA’s farmer leaders provided written testimony in support of the bill last year and have been monitoring the bill’s progress to ensure Ohio farmers’ best interests are being represented.

“We thank the Ohio House, Ohio Senate and all the legislators who supported the bill, especially Senators Bob Peterson and Matt Dolan and Representatives Haraz Ghanbari and John Patterson, for their commitment to expanding the resources available to farmers to improve water quality and soil health,” said Jerry Bambauer, OSA Policy Committee Chair and Auglaize County soybean farmer. “The program outlined in the bill will build upon the momentum of the H2Ohio program and the ongoing efforts by Ohio farmers to implement best management practices.”

House Bill 7 requires the Director of Agriculture to appoint at least one watershed planning and management coordinator to oversee planning in each categorized watershed region. It also allows the Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Lake Erie Commission and the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission, to establish a pilot program that assists farmers, agricultural retailers, and soil and water conservation districts in reducing phosphorus in a watershed to be determined by the Department.

“Protecting our state’s water resources and promoting soil health remain top priorities for Ohio’s corn and small grain farmers. House Bill 7 will help us continue to build on the early successes of H2Ohio, and we are grateful for those representatives and senators who are working diligently to ensure that important work continues,” said Patty Mann, president of OCWGA.

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