The majority of farmers in the Maumee watershed that drains into Lake Erie are engaged in best management practices and generally concerned about nutrient loss, says Robyn Wilson, assistant professor of risk analysis and decision science in Ohio State University's School of Environment and Natural Resources.
They agree agriculture contributes to nutrient-related water quality issues, and are willing to take additional action to help solve the problem, she said.
"The majority of farmers have very positive attitudes toward taking action, agreeing that taking at least one additional action to reduce nutrient loss on their farm would be fair, beneficial and valuable," Wilson says.
The results are from an Ohio State survey of Maumee watershed farmers conducted earlier this year. Wilson will discuss the survey and its findings during a presentation titled "Nutrient loss and water quality: A survey of farmer opinion" at Farm Science Review near London on Tuesday, Sept. 18, from 11:30 a.m.-noon. The program will take place at the Review's Gwynne Conservation Area.
Through her research, Wilson is interested in learning the values, attitudes and beliefs of people who contribute to and are most impacted by environmental issues. The Western Basin of Lake Erie has experienced increasingly large algal blooms in recent years that threaten the economy of the region. These blooms are attributed to nutrient runoff from farm fields, among a number of other factors, and are an issue of increasing significance.
"It is great to get the farmer perspective on these issues in Ohio, as I think there are a lot of assumptions about what farmers are thinking and what they are doing in relation to nutrient management," Wilson says. "Farm Science Review is a great place to share these results because I want farmers to know they are being heard, and many of the farmers we have interacted with for this project are particularly interested in our findings."