Bill to cut algae may be paid by farmers

Legislation winding its way out of the Statehouse Wednesday aimed at reducing toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie should encourage anyone concerned about water quality in bodies of water great and small.

Livestock producers, however, might find themselves even more at the mercy of the weather.

The bill would ban farmers in our area of Ohio from spreading manure on fields while they are frozen or sodden, or when heavy rain is forecast.

This winter, fields in northwest Ohio were frozen for months. Which means, in order to comply with the legislation, farmers would have to store manure for months, or pay to haul it to another part of Ohio or another state. Obviously, stockpiling manure outdoors would be nearly as bad as spreading it on fields.

The bill apparently will give some livestock farmers a year or two to comply with the new rules. Rep. Brian Hill, chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, said it would give small- and medium-size operators time to get a handle on costs associated with storing manure.

Unless the smaller farmers can manage that cost or pass it along to consumers, we fear fewer such producers will survive.

 

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