North central Ohio’s agricultural producers already must be licensed to apply pesticides on their fields. Soon they will have to be certified to put down fertilizers as well, reports Todd Hill of the Mansfield News Journal.
The extra requirement, signed into law earlier this month by Gov. John Kasich, comes in response to the habitual greening of several of Ohio’s larger bodies of water. Lake Erie, Buckeye Lake and especially Grand Lake St. Marys, in western Ohio, have in recent years been beset with harmful algal blooms.
Agricultural runoff, particularly the phosphorus found in fertilizers, is considered a principal cause of the blooms.
“There are some issues with dissolved reactive phosphorus. In the 1970s and ’80s, there were problems with particulate phosphorus becoming attached to the soil. With the advent of no-till, we saved a lot of erosion and particulate phosphorus didn’t go with the runoff. But soluble phosphorus moves with the water, so there are new issues. That’s why they’re looking at it so intently,” said Mike Hall, administrator of the Crawford County Soil and Water Conservation District.