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OH Farmers: Farm Bill Hits Home for State's Economy, Environment

July 11, 2007

Ohio farmers were in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to say the state's economy and environment hang in the balance in the next U.S. Farm Bill. Johnstown farmer Mike Laughlin met with members of the state's Congressional delegation. He says one priority for Ohio is full funding for the Conservation Security Program, which works with farmers to preserve soil quality, protect wildlife, and keep farm run-off out of streams and lakes.

“It helps to protect the water quality, and it just improves the environment for all Ohioans.”

He believes the farm bill can also help Ohio farmers make the switch to organic production, and although the transition can be expensive up front, it brings significant financial and environmental benefits for rural communities.

Laughlin would like to see an increase in funding for research in sustainable farming. He notes that current programs have a proven track record in helping farmers make the best use of their local growing conditions, and the state's rural areas would benefit from increased support for that research.

“That is done not only by the institutions, such as Ohio State and Extension, but also by the farmer on the ground, and it provides much-needed regional information on how to grow.”

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OH