Water quality issues
Nutrient and sediment loading into Ohio’s lakes and streams has been an issue for 40 or more years, and farmers’ conservation efforts have made a substantial improvement.
But, in the past year or two, it’s become increasingly clear more efforts are needed to tackle a slightly different issue: dissolved reactive phosphorous. Unlike other forms of phosphorous, the dissolved form is considered 100 percent available to unwanted plant growth — namely the harmful algal blooms.
Throughout the first part of the year, state officials put together a statewide task force to address what farmers should do. The group became known as the Agricultural Nutrients and Water Quality Work Group, and is comprised of staff from Ohio Department of Agriculture, the department of natural resources and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Dozens of farmers and farm agencies are helping the group form new recommendations for Ohio, to help improve water quality and reduce dissolved phosphorous levels.
By the close of the year, water quality was on the minds of grain and livestock farmers across the state.