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Northwest Ohio farmers, government discuss programs to reduce algal bloom

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Government leaders are teaming up with local farmers to combat the algal bloom problem in Lake Erie.

A meeting will be held Thursday morning unveiling new programs. Farmer Kris Swartz says every little thing they can do to reduce phosphorus runoff counts and helps improve our water quality. Swartz says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was already considering a new program.

"ODNR was going to roll out a program anyways," said Swartz. "But I think this just accelerated the roll out of it."

Kris Swartz is a fifth generation farmer who raises corn, soybeans and wheat in Perrysburg. He says this means some new cost share money for a lot of farmers in northwest Ohio in order to implement practices that should help with the algal bloom.

Even before the water crisis Swartz says he has been very active in taking steps to reduce his runoff. One thing he does that he believes government will encourage is controlling drainage structures.

"It limits how much water gets into the waterways in the early spring," said Swartz. "This should reduce the amount of phosphorus load in the early spring."

Swartz also says variable rate testing is another technique that is gaining popularity.

"We soil test on grids on smaller areas," said Swartz. "And we apply hopefully less phosphorus where you have a high phosphorus test so you'll reduce your runoff."

Both practices are two small steps Swartz believes can help solve a larger problem.

Toledo News Now will have a reporter at the meeting tomorrow to find out what programs the government will be recommending for farmers. 

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