Farmer organizations are embracing new legislation that would require fertilizer applicators to be licensed, farmers to have a nutrient plan and licensees to pay an inspection fee on fertilizers.
The Ohio Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 150 recently, which will require one farmer per farm operation to be certified to apply fertilizer. The bill will now move to the Ohio House for consideration.
Specifically S.B. 150 says:
Sec. 905.321. (A) Beginning September thirtieth of the third year after the effective date of this section, no person shall apply fertilizer for the purposes of agricultural production unless that person has been certified to do so by the director of agriculture under this section and rules or is acting under the instructions and control of a person who is so certified.
(B) A person shall be certified to apply fertilizer for purposes of agricultural production in accordance with rules. A person that has been so certified shall comply with requirements and procedures established in those rules.
(C) A person that has been licensed as a commercial applicator under section 921.06 of the Revised Code or as a private applicator under section 921.11 of the Revised Code may apply to be certified under this section, but shall not be required to pay the application fee for certification established in rules adopted under section 905.322 of the Revised Code.
The bill has strong support from Ohio crop producers organizations.
"The Ohio Soybean Association and Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association take the issue of water quality in our state very seriously and began actively working with legislators on SB 150 since it was introduced in 2013," says Jerry Bambauer, OSA president and Auglaize County farmer. "Thanks to the work of OSA, the OCWGA and others, the final version of the bill is far different than the original that contained unnecessary and overly burdensome requirements for Ohio family farmers. Moving forward, both organizations will continue to emphasize to legislators and agency officials the importance of practical, science-based solutions."
The full bill can be found here online.
Bambauer emphasized the need to fully understand this challenge before solutions can be implemented.
Brent Hostetler, OCWGA President and Union County farmer stressed the commitment and actions Ohio farmers are already taking to address water quality concerns.
" "Research is vital but farmers are not sitting idly by," he says. "They are implementing best management practices on their farms to mitigate any potential runoff. Farmers are also applying the 4R principles of nutrient management (right source, right rate, right time and right place). Ohio farmers care about the health of the land and water and are committed to doing their part to find solutions that work for all Ohioans."