Want to know what's going on in the watershed?  Ag Solutions has been kind enough to share regular updates with the Lake Improvement Association.


Meeting Agenda/Brief Recap and Updates

8pm Monday February 6, 2012 Marion Township Library

1.Jim Keller – Welcome, brief Introductions, meeting purpose.

2.Jared Ebbing – General update – Jared reported that many of the development folks from around the state are very interested in the approaches being used by the LRC/LIA and Ag Solutions concerning the

GLSM watershed. He has invited all interested individuals from around the state to attend our March 19th manure workshop. A commitment from Jobs Ohio concerning what support Jobs Ohio will provide to Amiran and their Mercer County initiatives is expected shortly.

3.Brother Nick Renner – General update – Brother Nick reported on some projects he and Jim Hoorman are coordinating.

They are working with Kevin King to install monitoring devices on 3 – 4 local farms. These devices will measure the nutrient levels in the water leaving the farm in both tiles and surface water.

Brother Nick is working with Larry Brown a professor at Ohio State to install a device which removes 60 – 80% of the nitrates and phosphorus in a tile. This test device will be installed in a tile at St. Charles farms in a location easily accessible for observation and demonstration.

Dr. Libby Dayton is working with Jim and Nick to set up 8 local sites with monitoring devices which will measure the nutrient level of surface water.

Jim and Nick are setting up 74 plots with a variety of conditions regarding tillage, cover crop and manure applications to measure outcomes based on varied inputs/conditions.

4.Bill Knapke – General update – meetings in Columbus – The state directors (ODNR, EPA, & AG), commodity group representatives, farmers and other stakeholders attend these meetings in Columbus. They are finalizing deliberations regarding the steps that will be taken to reduce phosphorus going into the ground. These recommendations/action plans will be given to the governor for implementation state wide. The commodity

groups have taken the responsibility to educate farmers throughout the state. Contrary to what was announced in the February 6th Ag Solutions emailed meeting invitation, there has been no discussion at these meetings concerning declaring the Lake Erie watershed a distressed watershed.

5.Andy Schwieterman – Verity Farms meeting, February 23, 2012 10am – 3:30pm. Marion Township Building, Maria Stein – Andy discussed the reasons for his keen interest in what Verity Farms has to offer the farm

community. He emphasized dramatically improved animal health using their recommendations. He is coordinating a meeting to be held on 02/23 as noted above. Andy provided the following promotional piece about Verity farms:

Verity Farms is a company that is young in years but very mature and rich with experience. Since 1973, the goal of the farmers who founded Verity Farms has been to constantly improve farming methods for the benefit of: the soil, the crops, the livestock that consume the crops, the family farmers that raise the crops and livestock, the consumers that eat the food that is produced.

Verity Farms works with some of the lead scientists from around the world and is at the forefront of identifying and solving the problems in crop and livestock production. The problems include: deteriorating soil conditions, increased challenges to the environmental conditions of lakes and streams, increased challenges in crop health, increased challenges in the cost of crop production, increased health challenges in livestock production, increased concern from consumers about the safety, integrity and quality of the food.

Is it important to evaluate the relationship agriculture may have on the environment?

If you have questions please contact Andy directly at andy_cow02@hotmail.com or phone (419) 305-0659.

6.Glen Arnold – Review of manure tests plots in Putnam County. – Glen talked us through a number of slides which emphasized why manure is so valuable. He had calculated the price of nitrogen and phosphorus in swine and dairy manure and used these numbers to emphasize the value of getting the manure on/in the ground properly. He has conducted multiple tests using machinery to inject liquid manure into the soil between rows as well as spreading it on top. He has applied manure on various crops and occasionally at various points in crop maturity. He compiled data regarding the output of these test plots preparing charts reflecting how output varied when using manure, commercial fertilizer, or even in some cases no nutrient of any kind. Glen would like to get some plots established in the GLSM watershed. If you have an interest in doing that or are just interested in his approach please contact him direct. Email arnold.2@cfaes.osu.edu or phone (419) 235-4724

7.Terry Mescher – Settling Tanks – Terry has been working with some folks in Canada regarding a simple, practical way to use settling tanks to allow phosphorus and other nutrients to consolidate in the solids which sink to the bottom. This is a naturally occurring event so no special additives or equipment is needed. Some challenges remain in the handling of the low nutrient liquid on the top and the high nutrient solids on the bottom. Terry felt that these challenges can be overcome. He added that approaches such as this do not get much attention since no company will benefit from

product sales therefore no entity promotes the idea. Terry encouraged local swine producers to set up some experimental approaches. He advised that he has a little grant money which can help buy test equipment. Anyone interested in more information can contact Terry direct at email: terry.mescher@dnr.state.oh.us or phone at Mercer County Soil and Water

(419) 586-3289 or his business cell (614) 395-6210

8.Tom Menke – Status of ADAPT Network – Tom was not present and I did not have a current update at the meeting. Tom did submit the following update on 02/08:

******We have completed soil sampling for “benchmarking” the watershed: approximately 2,400 acres of soil samples have been analyzed representing random fields of participants throughout the entire watershed.

The Grand Lake Adapt Network is planning a meeting on March 16th for network cooperators (time to be determined: probably morning) to review the soil test results for the watershed, review the stalk nitrogen tests and to compare these results with various management practices on the sampled fields. We will be discussing how to properly interpret soil and stalk nitrate test results as well as the upcoming plots for the 2012 growing season.

Between now and then, the soil and stalk test results will be reviewed with each participant individually while gathering management information for each field the tests represent, to begin to correlate test results with management practices. At that time plot sampling and strip trial participation will be discussed.********* Please note that the meeting date for all participants in the ADAPT Network has now been rescheduled to March 14. Meeting will be held at the Marion Township Building and participants will be contacted with further information.

9.Updates, ideas, suggestions from the floor – Lou Brown informed the group that he had heard that Quasar is now contemplating building a digester outside the watershed which would use feedstock from the watershed. This generated some discussion but since no one had any further insights the meeting moved on to other issues.

10.Jim Keller – Wrap-up –

On behalf of Ag Solutions formally congratulated Milt Miller on his recent selection as the newly appointed Lake Restoration Commission manager.

Commented about the closed door session at the January 18 LRC meeting at the branch campus. Some of the farmers attending that meeting were puzzled as to why a portion of the meeting was held behind closed doors and only a select few were invited to attend. Milt Miller addressed this issue. This forum gave the individuals from the LRC an intimate setting in which to solicit funding from the state directors

for all lake improvements. There was a great deal of discussion regarding funding in the closed meeting and most likely was the best forum for these negotiations.

Also commented that in the closed January 18th meeting, the EPA had put up slides documenting the amount of dissolved phosphorus still flowing into the lake. This data was garnered from recent samples taken from all the tributaries. There is a great deal of work to do in further defining and addressing this vexing issue. ODNR Director Jim Zehringer has directly requested that Ag Solutions make dissolved phosphorus a priority in 2012. I committed our organization to do that. All great ideas for solution are welcome!!!

Apologized for the misinformation sent in the February 6th meeting emailed meeting invitation concerning the status of Lake Erie.

Noted that Hinda Mitchell a farm advocate will be speaking in Maria Stein on February 7th.

Noted that a manure workshop will be held in Maria Stein on March 19th. We have a great program scheduled and encourage everyone to come and learn. (We now have an agenda that is very close to final and I will be including it in the email distribution.)

11.Please support the Marion Community Development Organization (MCDO) – Jim asked attendees to join the MCDO, the umbrella group for Ag Solutions. The MCDO is spending considerable time and treasure on this initiative and everyone’s support is most appreciated.

12.Next meeting date, time, and location.

Monday March 5, 2012

8pm Marion Township Library Chickasaw, Ohio

Submitted by: Jim Keller MCDO Coordinator