Ag Committee Goes to Work

TMACOG’s new Agriculture Committee gathered August 14 for the first organizational meeting. About 30 people met in the TMACOG Boardroom. People in attendance included farmers, representatives of soil and water conservation districts and the Ohio farm bureau, environmental advocates from the Lake Erie Waterkeepers and other groups, and elected officials. All meetings are open to the public and welcome a wide range of interests and areas of expertise. The group plans to meet quarterly at locations throughout the TMACOG region. Topics proposed for the next meeting November 6 at 9 a.m. in the TMACOG Boardroom include animal feeding operations with a review of regulations and permit processes.

The initial meeting was organizational and included a review of the Ag Committee’s goals and objectives. The primary goal is to facilitate communications on water quality, economics, innovation, and operations with agriculture and related industries. Attendees mentioned that this new group is timely and that action and creativity are needed to respond to the challenges facing agriculture, Lake Erie, and water quality.

Disasterous Planting Season will Have Long-lasting Effects
Discussion at the meeting reviewed this year’s catastrophic spring weather which has led many farmers to claim “prevent plant” crop insurance because they were unable to get a crop planted. Other farmers planted well beyond normal dates and now are hoping for a long, warm fall so that they get some product to harvest. Non-farmers in attendance had questions about how crop insurance works, how farmers lease land that they farm, and what emergency resources are available this year.

Farmers are weighing how best to manage their unplanted fields. Some are leaving the weeds, some are plowing weeds under, and some are plowing weeds and then planting a cover crop early. A cover crop takes up nutrients and keeps soil in place. However, it was noted that cover crop seed is in short supply and farmers who have already lost an entire season are reluctant or unable to invest in cover crops. There are likely to be a lot of bare fields for an entire year. These will be vulnerable to runoff and erosion.

For more information on TMACOG’s Agriculture Committee contact Kris Barnswell at 419.241.9155 ext. 1123.

Well before the formal establishment of the Ag Committee, staff and members of TMACOG have been following research related to agriculture and water quality. In July, staff attended a manure spill training seminar at the Stateler Family Farms in McComb in Hancock County.

A dye test simulates the flow of manure through a broken pipe.

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