Draft legislation expected to be introduced in the Ohio state legislature later this session is geared toward increased transparency in fertilizer use. The proposal would require everyone who applies nutrient to Ohio soils to certify with the State.
The rules would include every operation with ten or more acres of agricultural production land. Should the measure pass into law, the Ohio State University Extension would offer the necessary certification courses. Officials with Ohio's Dept. of Agriculture say the proposal would also reach upstream to fertilizer producers who would be subject to license and would be asked to divulge sales figures for nutrients headed out to farms.
Ohio already administers 40,000 pesticide certification licenses and the certification for fertilizer application would take a similar path. Commercial applicators would have 3 years -- should the proposal pass -- to catch up with certification, but the idea is to encourage best management practices and the 4-Rs... right type, right rate, right time and right place.
Officials in the state are aware that growers have not heard much about this, and while the nuts and bolts of the proposal are yet to come, farmers in Ohio would do well to join the conversation before runaway regulation takes over operations on the farm.