Ohio farmers say they're on board with the state's plans to slow agricultural runoff into Lake Erie, which Governor Mike DeWine has said is the biggest contributor to toxic algae blooms.
And they're joining environmental activists and conservationists in embracing how DeWine says he'll spend 172 million dollars in the newly created H-2-Ohio fund. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.
DeWine says farmers will get financial incentives from the state to start using science-based practices for applying fertilizer, building ditches and planting trees and shrubs. And unlike in previous efforts, the Ohio Farm Bureau and other major agricultural players approve. Scott Higgins is the CEO of the Ohio Dairy Producers Association.
“We don’t want this to be a flash in the pan project. This is a long term commitment. This is something that we want to be permanent.”
Farmers had pushed back on an attempt to toughen regulations on agriculture from former Governor John Kasich last year. The Ohio Environmental Council says it supports the H2Ohio program even though it’s voluntary because it invests in wetlands, requires commitment from farmers and establishes testing and audits to find out what will keep phosphorus out of the water.