Farm Bureau focuses on water quality and offers free water tests to members
In September of 2014, Ohio Farm Bureau approved a Water Quality Action Plan with the goal of helping to improve water quality statewide. Since 2014, action plan activities include edge-of-field nutrient runoff monitoring and conservation efforts through the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network in northwest Ohio, as well as advocating for legislation that will positively impact the state’s water quality while allowing the business of agriculture to grow.
Water quality has remained a priority issue for Ohio Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureaus for 2017. This year, Wayne County Farm Bureau is collaborating with OSU ATI and OARDC on a research study titled: Side-dress Manure Application Plots to Demonstrate Manure Utilization Timing. This project began in July and results will be available after harvest. The goal of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of side-dress liquid dairy manure compared to a more traditional 28% UAN liquid nitrogen side-dress which may broaden the window of when and how manure can be applied. Providing additional windows of opportunity to utilize livestock manure, particularly liquid manure can aid in protecting water quality.
Also on the local level, Farm Bureau members throughout Ohio can get free nitrate testing of their well water.
Each county Farm Bureau will receive 25 testing kits from Ohio Farm Bureau. They will be available to members who pre-register with their county organization by Sept. 26. Kits are limited to 25 per county and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The testing kits will be sent to Heidelberg University’s National Center for Water Quality Research for nitrate analysis. Ohio Farm Bureau is paying for the cost of the nitrate analysis, which is $25 per sample. Testing for pesticides and metals is available at an additional cost.
It is recommended that wells be tested if they are more than 20 years old; were dug rather than drilled; are shallow; soil is sandy; a chemical spill happened nearby; or are near cropland, feedlots, landfills or industrial sites.
“It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to test their well water to ensure it’s safe,” said Larry Antosch, OFBF’s senior director of policy development and environmental policy. “More than 750,000 households in Ohio depend on their own well, spring or cistern for their drinking water. We want to provide this service for our members so they have an opportunity to see what’s in their water and take any necessary corrective actions.”
Kits will be available for pickup on October 10th at the Wooster office which services Ashland, Holmes, Medina, and Wayne County Farm Bureaus. Samples need to be returned before the end of November. Lab results typically take two to three weeks and will be mailed to homeowners.
To preregister, contact your county Farm Bureau at ofbf.org/counties or call the Wooster office at 330-263-7456. To learn more about Ohio Farm Bureau’s water quality efforts, visit farmersforwater.org.