On Nov. 14, the Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) testified as an interested party to Senate Bill (SB) 150, which was introduced Nov. 6 by Sen. Cliff Hite and Sen. Bob Peterson. SB 150 would require one farmer per farm operation to be certified to apply fertilizer. Farmers may also be required to keep records regarding the application of fertilizer.
In his testimony, Adam Ward, executive director of OSA, stressed that Ohio’s soybean farmers have already been proactive about this issue by funding research and education programs that will help find practical solutions.
“OSA and our sister organization, the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) take the water quality issue with Grand Lake St. Marys and Lake Erie very seriously,” explained Ward. “OSC, the Ohio Corn Marketing Board and the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Board have invested in research led by The Ohio State University (OSU) to help understand how phosphorus in the dissolved state is leaving the farm field.”
On behalf of OSA, Ward commended the work of Sen. Hite and Sen. Peterson for bringing forth a bill that their members could accept. However, Ward went on to stress that while OSA farmer leaders are willing to accept a fertilizer certification program, there is a significant incentive to get this portion of the bill right.
“OSA believes one of the most important sections of the certification program is the ability for the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture to revoke or suspend the license of a farmer,” said Ward. “OSA believes farmers acting recklessly when spreading nutrients is unacceptable. OSA looks forward to engaging the agency to develop common sense regulations to keep nutrients out of waterways.”
Ward went on to explain that while farmers are already implementing many best management practices on their farms because they also value the quality of Ohio’s waterways, continued research is vital to finding real answers. OSA believes that no regulation should take place before research is completed.
“The development of algal blooms on numerous lakes across Ohio show there are still questions to answer regarding the quality of water in the state. These blooms also show that water quality issues go far beyond agricultural nutrients and we strongly encourage a more comprehensive review of water infrastructure in Ohio,” stated Ward. “By allowing the OSU research to be completed and farm organizations to develop and promote practical education programs, we will be doing our part to find long-term solutions that work.”
The Ohio Soybean Association is governed by a volunteer farmer board dedicated to education and promotion, as well as to uniting producer interest through support of legislative activities beneficial to the Ohio soybean industry. To learn more about the Ohio Soybean Association, visit www.soyohio.org.