The Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Poultry Association and the Ohio Dairy Producers Association announced their support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) recently. The announcement comes amid budget discussions to dramatically decrease funding for the GLRI.
The livestock and poultry groups issued the below statement regarding their support of the GLRI:
“Improving the quality of the Great Lakes has, and will, remain a top priority of ours today, and for generations to come. In order to be successful in our efforts of restoring the lakes, and preventing further damage, we recognize the progress made by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and see value in continuing to support the effort and build-off the momentum. Our farmers have reassured their commitment to restoring the lakes, and in doing so, supporting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative launched in 2010 with the following areas of focus: cleaning up the Great Lakes Areas of Concern, preventing invasive species, reducing nutrient runoff and restoring habitat to protect native species. Last year, GLRI-funded projects totaled more than $154 million — more than $13 million of those funds were directed specifically to Ohio. With the areas of focus in mind, these projects were directed towards education, research and outreach.
“While some of the GLRI-funded projects counterbalanced our farmers’ efforts, we recognize the significant benefit of those programs that enhanced farmers’ work to protect to the lakes. For example, Ohio livestock and poultry farmers worked closely with GLRI-funded projects to identify the means to better implement conservation systems, and utilize nutrients more wisely and efficiently. What’s more, state and federal agriculture-related agencies, like the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Ohio Department of Agriculture, have relied on the GLRI’s resources when strategically targeting the most serious threats to the Great Lakes.
“In closing, we encourage federal elected officials to remain focused on improving the Great Lakes, and urge them to support funding for the GLRI in the coming Fiscal Year. Through continued funding of programs like the GLRI, we hope to remain good stewards of the Great Lakes, and promote cleaner, safer, water for our families, friends and neighbors.”