WLEB ag directors look to maximize conservation efforts

Agricultural directors in the Western Lake Erie Basin want to strengthen water quality collaborations.

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Brian Baldrige tells Brownfield he recently met with his Indiana and Michigan counterparts to discuss synergies.

“We know the decisions that we make today drive us ahead in future generations, so it’s crucial that we continue to evaluate,” he says. “They’re doing great things in Michigan and Indiana. We feel we’re doing great things in Ohio as well.”

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Don Lamb tells Brownfield he’s watching what additional funding in Ohio can accomplish.

“And then really try to be able to pick some areas that we would want to concentrate on in the future that they’re doing that we might not be doing,” he says.

The state of Ohio recently increased the H2Ohio program’s current operating budget to $270 million. Baldridge says his department has just finished program reenrollments.

“We are getting very close to one out of every two fields in the Western Lake Erie Basin participating in H2Ohio, and I think that’s a milestone that we’re excited about,” he shares.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Tim Boring says Michigan is committed to advancing the science, expanding monitoring activities, and leveraging new approaches such as a focus on soil health to improve water quality.

AUDIO: Brian Baldrige, Ohio Department of Agriculture

AUDIO: Don Lamb, Indiana State Department of Agriculture

  • Michigan needs to dramatically increase its investment in the private lands conservation delivery system which is our 75 Conservation Districts to maximize the conservation planning and installation that takes place especially in key watersheds. Voluntary and locally led conservation is the key to long term water and soil quality goals.

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