Although 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 more than $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, Deerfield Farm Services, DuPont Pioneer, Luckey Farmers Cooperative, Nachurs, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Paulding County Farm Bureau, Schlessman Seeds, Trupointe Cooperative and the United Soybean Board.
To date, all funding partners have committed over $1 million 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."