At this year’s Ohio Farm Science Review, extension experts from Ohio State University led a discussion on water quality. Ohio’s farming has been successful in 2015, with planting completed on time in near-ideal planting conditions. Furthermore, the early water quality predictions for the local waterways are also promising, due in part to the new practices and laws that were developed to lead to lower loss of nutrients and, ultimately, cleaner water ways. Unfortunately, this was not the reality due to the high levels of rain across the state through most of the summer, resulting in a predicted “severe” algae bloom, predicted to be the second worst in recent history by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
To combat this issue, Brent Sohngen, a CBEAR Fellow at Ohio State University, predicts that the current legislation in place will not be enough to prevent this from occurring in the future and also meet the 40% phosphorus reduction called for by the state. Sohngen recommends using a phosphorus tax, in place of bans of winter nutrient applications, as it will be more effective at tackling the challenge in a cost-effective manner.