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Clean Water is Everyone’s Business

Ohio Farmers Commit $1 Million to Phosphorus Research

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While many factors and sources affect water quality, Ohio corn, soybean and wheat farmers want to be part of the solution and do their part to maintain and improve the health of Ohio’s waterways.  Ohio farmers share the same environmental priorities as their fellow citizens and are committed to doing the right thing for their farms, their families and all Ohioans.

As a result, farmers and other agricultural organizations are investing nearly $1 million to commission a study to investigate phosphorus use in farming.  This three-year project, led by The Ohio State University (OSU), OSU Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), will determine how phosphorus is used in agriculture, how it leaves farm fields and how much of it is actually entering Ohio waterways.

How phosphorus moves from fields to waterways has never before been explored in such detail in Ohio.

“Farmers have answered the call to address water quality challenges in the past and they are committed to do so again,” said Terry McClure, Ohio farmer from Paulding County.  “However, the issues we face with phosphorus today are different than those in the past.  That is why research is a vital part of developing the necessary tools for every region, every farm and every watershed.”

Equipment has been placed in strategic locations at the edge of farm fields throughout the state to collect continuous and extensive data.  OSU scientists will examine previous water quality studies, collect new data and provide farmers the information they need to make the right decisions for the environment and their farms.

Farmer and agricultural organizations that have provided funding for the research include Ohio Corn Marketing Program, the Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program, The Andersons, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Luckey Farmers Cooperative, Nachurs, Paulding County Farm Bureau, Schlessman Seeds, Trupointe Cooperative and the United Soybean Board.

To date, all funding partners have committed over $950,000 to support the project.  In 2012, the initial research funding was matched when OSU received a Conservation Innovation Grant of $999,987 from USDA.

“While this research project will provide tools for farmers, it’s important to remember there are multiple sources that contribute to the water quality problem that are beyond farmers’ control, including private septic systems, urban storm runoff, industrial pollution and municipal waste from failed sewer systems,” said Mark Thomas, Ohio farmer from Stark County.  “Ohio’s corn, soybean and wheat farmers are dedicated to doing their part to improve Ohio’s waterways because clean water is everyone’s business.”

About The Ohio Corn Marketing Program
The Ohio Corn Marketing Program was approved by an affirmative vote of Ohio’s corn producers. The voluntary, self-help program allows for the collection of a half cent-per-bushel assessment by all first purchasers of the grain. Funds from the program can only be invested for research, market development, education and promotion purposes. Visit www.ohiocorn.org for more information.

About Ohio Soybean Council
Headquartered in Worthington, the Ohio Soybean Council is governed by a volunteer farmer board, which directs the Soybean Promotion and Research Program.  The program’s primary goal is to improve soybean profitability by targeting research and development, education and promotion projects through the investment of farmer-contributed funds (checkoff).  www.soyohio.org

About Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program
The Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program Board works to improve wheat production, wheat qualities and to strengthen markets for wheat in Ohio as well as wheat export markets. OSGMP supports educational programs in the state and funds research programs to create better crops and open new markets. For more information, visit ohiosmallgrains.org