Ohio’s Soil and Water Conservation Commission has decided to have a subcommittee look at Gov. John Kasich’s plan to develop rules to regulate the use of commercial fertilizer and manure in northwest Ohio. The commission voted 4-2 at its July 19 meeting to take the action, which Ohio Farm Bureau said would give the approximately 7,000 farmers affected a chance to weigh in on the potential rules. Seventy-five farmers attended the meeting, and several spoke, Ohio Farm Bureau said, “urging commissioners to take more time to study the impact their decision would have on agriculture and whether or not the financial resources were going to be available to farmers to apply new rules.” Kasich issued an executive order July 11 directing the state’s Department of Agriculture to seek the commission’s input on whether to designate eight watersheds as “in distress,” which would open the door to new regulations to control phosphorus entering Lake Erie. “I doubt we’re at 10 percent of the science of what we need to know is happening with these algae blooms,” commission Chairman Tom Price said at the meeting. “This is not going to be simple.”

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