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Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Act introduced

A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the U.S. House to preserve agricultural conservation efforts in the Great Lakes.

Introduced by Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan and Michigan Republican Tim Walberg, the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Act would establish a Great Lakes basin initiative for agricultural nonpoint source pollution prevention.

The legislation builds off the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, H2Ohio, and other voluntary stewardship programs supporting farmers’ efforts to protect water quality.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s Ty Higgins tells Brownfield the early success of programs like H2Ohio shows farmers are eager to learn about better water quality practices and implement the ones that would work best for their operation. He says funding, like legislation offers, would give even more farmers the opportunity to enhance their nutrient management plans and continue efforts to conserve healthy soils while protecting clean water.

Michigan Farm Bureau’s John Kran says with third-party verification of plan completion, the bill follows MAEAP’s example of providing accountability and the ability to track the positive impact of good farm practices. 

The bill establishes priority funding in the Great Lakes basin for producers participating in state verification programs along with grants for states, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, for education, outreach, and technical assistance on related efforts.

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