The Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) and the Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) yesterday denounced the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as proposed by the 2018 budget released this week by the Trump Administration.

 Ohio’s corn, soy and wheat farmers have been strong supporters of the initiative. Since 2009 it has provided approximately $300 million annually in water quality improvement efforts and generated more than $2 billion for previously unfunded restoration work over the past eight years. These investments help not only agriculture, but other stakeholders that need support to improve water quality.

 “The Great Lakes are the source of nourishment, fishing and recreation for millions of Americans,” OCWGA President Jed Bower said. “If Congress enacts the administration’s budget as proposed, Western Lake Erie would be harmed by the elimination of the initiative.”

 “Failing to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would come at a high cost to Ohioans,” OSA President Todd Hesterman said. “We stand with Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, Rep. Dave Joyce, and all members of Ohio’s congressional delegation who have led the charge to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”

 The Trump Administration proposed severe cuts to Great Lakes funding for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year budget. However, led by Sens. Portman and Brown, Congress voted to keep programs at their current funding level of $300 million.