News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Don Drumm Studios

Genie of Fairview Door Company


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Greenhouse rules and northeast Ohio's farm economy
New regulations in the offing to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen in surface waters
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Interior watering system
Courtesy of (Photo by Steven via Wikimedia Commons.)
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Ohio’s $-billion greenhouse industry may take a financial hit if new rules are put in place to curb water pollution from farm runoff. The regulations are reportedly in the works – the financial impact could depend on whether they come from Washington or Columbus. That’ll be a hot topic at a statewide greenhouse industry gathering that starts tomorrow (Thursday) in Wooster.  WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:35)


The greenhouse business was big
in Ohio once before—for about a hundred years starting in the late 19th century. But, Jeff Zeller, whose family has been operating farms and greenhouses for generations in Stark County says the perfect-storm of the energy crisis and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts of 1970s took a toll.  “So much of northeast Ohio, there were greenhouse vegetables grown. But the dynamics of it continued to change rapidly.  And a lot of those greenhouses ceased to exist, just because of the economics.”

Resilient
The industry bounced back.  Ohio currently ranks third among the states in production from greenhouses.  But now there are reports the US Environmental Protection Agency may be working on another set of sweeping regulations – this time about how farmers can use, store, and circulate water. OARDC old administration buildingThat’ll be a headline topic when owners and operators meet at the annual Greenhouse Management Workshop in Wooster over the next two days.


After the rain
The anticipated new rules would be aimed at reducing fertilizer run-off from farms, which is believed to be causing ecological problems from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Carrie Vollmer Sanders with The Nature Conservancy is particularly concerned about the Great Lakes area.  “Back in the 60s and 70s there was a huge problem with algal blooms.  In fact, one of the reason that we had the clean water act was because of problems with pollution that we had in Lake Erie. And then, in the late 90s the algae began to show up again. And in 2011 we had one of the largest algal blooms on record: 650-thousand square miles in Lake Erie.”

A brush too broad
Ohio farmers say they aren’t against new regulations – they just don’t want a one-size-fits-all approach that would treat greenhouses and other small or specialized farms the same as huge farming operations.

Greenhouse operators say in the 70s THAT was the problem with federal environmental regulation.

Realistic
Ohio State professor Peter Ling, organizer of the Greenhouse workshop at the Ohio Agriculture Research & Development Center in Wooster, says this time, Ohio wants to get out in front of the feds.  "We need to spend more time in thinking about what technology we may be able to use to meet the requirements.  Get ahead of it, be ready for it, and help the government set the rules that are reasonable for the industry.  Be involved and say 'OK, here's what reality is'..."  

Columbus
Dr Peter LingThe state legislature is working on farm runoff regulations.  And in theory, if Ohio’s rules are more comprehensive and tougher than federal ones, the U.S. EPA will allow the state to enforce its own regulation--WHICH could include rules customized to different types of farming operations. So, for example, a greenhouse operator might not have to invest in equipment and procedures on the scale, or of the same type as a large-field crop farmers would.

Coming together
Carrie Volmer-Sanders says her group is already working with the agriculture industry in Ohio to train farmers to use water in more ecologically safe ways.  “It’s really an industry led program for this certification. We’ve been working on it for about two years; and we’re ready to in fact launch, or to go make it go live, essentially, in March of this year.”


Seeking to influence
That certification program is voluntary and non-governmental.  If Ohio comes up with its own mandatory regulations, many farmers hope those will be strong enough to be used instead of…and be more flexible than… U.S. EPA rules. Greenhouse managers meeting in Wooster this week are talking about how to help ensure that’s what happen.  

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

A small group of tea party and Democrats protest at Kasich campaign stop
Enjoyed your excellent coverage of the statehouse for sometime now, never dreamed I'd be on. The feedback from people has been great. Thank you. Doris Adams

Top staffers are leaving the FitzGerald gubernatorial campaign
I's too bad that the dirt on Fitzgerald dug up by Kasich's operatives and publicized heavily by the Yellow Plain Dealer has caused the weak staffers of the Fitz...

Churches come together to welcome and include Gay Games athletes
Nicely done!!! A little known fact about the El Salvadoran and Columbian scholarships.. A big thank you to the Faith Community for their support of Gay Games 9....

What do Ohio farmers need to do to control Lake Erie problems?
This was a great article, thank you, Karen Schaefer. There was an error- Roger Wise is the past president of the Ohio Farmer's Union; not the Ohio Farm Bureau ...

Registration for the 2014 Gay Games ends Monday at midnight
Judy Benson and Sally Tatnall are loved and appreciated by all in our community and throughout the US for their untiring work for OLOC and for educating the com...

Like any family, the Gay Games has its generation gaps
Great article ... important perspective.

Gay Games rodeo: Changing stereotypes
Robin, Thank you for a fine piece of recorded history. This is history in the making; a gay, Asian man, one of the last bronc riders in IGRA, and Rodeo at Gay G...

Ohio lawmakers hold hearing on prison food problems
So you fine them..this has been going onand the law makers are aware of this issue.I have been told by many about the maggots and rotten food not fit for a dog ...

Interview with early Beatle Pete Best
"the Leshdu (?) Quartet.." Actually that's the Les Stewart Quartet. George Harrison was in that band at the same time as the Quarry Men.

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University