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Ohio farmers learn new nutrient management practices
More than 500 farmers are already certified under the new state program
Story by KAREN SCHAEFER


 
Farm phosphorus runoff is a major contributor to the algae blooms in Lake Erie.
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More than 500 Northwest Ohio farmers are already certified under a new state program that could lead to reductions of Lake Erie algae-feeding phosphorus as early as next spring. Karen Schaefer reports.
LISTEN: Roger Lange on importance of clean water

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On Thursday morning in Findlay, 245 farmers and commercial applicators spent three hours in a crowded hall learning how to improve their nutrient management practices to keep phosphorus out of Lake Erie. This was only the second session of the state’s new fertilizer certification program since the August adoption of an Ohio law requiring farmers to learn how to better manage fertilizer. 

Roger Lange, vice president of Seneca County’s Ohio Farm Bureau, says he realizes that since the water ban in Toledo in August when algae toxins made water unsafe to drink, Ohio farmers are in the political spotlight.

“It’s partially a political statement. It’s also that we’re as concerned as the people of Toledo, because water is the lifeblood of our farming operations, too,” Lange says.

An earlier certification session netted 300 fertilizer applicators. Of the more than 8,000 farmers in the Maumee basin, more than half could be certified before spring planting, well in advance of the law’s 2017 deadline.

 
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