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.

Meaden & Moore

Wayside Furniture

Akron General


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

School children in Bath produce a seed-to-table garlic feast
Super article. What a great idea to educate in sustainable farming! Garlic is so healthy as well. My Grandson Sam Mathews is in grade 4, and he looks like he ...

There's no off-season for the Cleveland International Film Festival
I would like to see "The Murders of Brandywine Theater" filmed by local Larry Longstreth shown at the Cleveland International Film Festival!

Study shows raising the cigarette tax a dollar could raise $342 million
So, it takes an expert to tell us raising the tobacco tax raises the revenue for the state? Doh. By the way, any one who was going to quit smoking probably alre...

Akron's Highland Square celebrates community spirit and public art
Both Donna and her husband, Joseph are both such amazing art talents! The photos look stunning! I must get down to Angel Falls for an in-person look. I just l...

Pluto: Another off-season, another Browns quarterback conundrum
The Browns do need a draftable QB for the future. Johnny Manziel needs to go and that leaves Brian Hoyer and Connor Shaw. Free agency doesn't really have any so...

Exploradio: Improving the lives of paralyzed people
God bless you doctor. I hope to be alive the day that humans, like me, can use the results of your search...

Nature and nourishment down by the river at the Metroparks' Merwin's Wharf
I love QUICKBITES! I look forward to it every week. One question: is it possible to include a link to the restaurant or store that you profile? Thanks!

Canton's proposed Timken-McKinley school merger is drawing spirited debate
From a sports opinion Varsity would have a lot more talent to choose from So Im sure varsity sports would improve.Also Timkens name would be much more published...

Canton school board will decide whether to merge high schools
I really hope we can save those jobs, usually we try to cut budgets but the demand is still the same. Then we look bad a year or two after the descion is made. ...

FirstEnergy wants PUCO guarantees on nuclear and coal prices
Would just comment that the plant has admitted the following (as reporting in the Akron Beacon Journal): "The utility has said it may have difficulty keeping t...

Copyright © 2015 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