Federal money granted to help farmers prevent phosphorous runoff - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Federal money granted to help farmers prevent phosphorous runoff

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(Toledo News Now) -

The federal government is stepping in to help the City of Toledo deal with the recent water crisis.

US Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, and US Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th District, announced Tuesday that millions of dollars in emergency funding will go to local farmers.

The funding is meant to help farmers prevent phosphorous runoff from entering the water source.

Robert Burtchin grew up near Lake Erie and has been farming for more than 25 years.

"The algae problem, from my perspective, is not new," Burtchin said. "In the 19-late 60s, early 70s, we had the same algae problem."

Sen. Brown and Congresswoman Kaptur announced $2 million will be available to help farmers plant cover crops in the off season to prevent runoff from getting into the water. Burtchin says planting cover crops is a costly process for farmers.

"You're somewhat hesitant to try planting 40-50 acres of a cover crop that may cost you $30-40 an acre to plant, plus the time and equipment, and you don't know if it's going to do any good," he explained.

Burtchin says the federal money is a step in the right direction and cover crops make sense if it improves the water quality.

"Farmers kind of have been put in the forefront, and somewhat, I think, unfairly," he said.

Sen. Brown says this is just one of many steps that need to be taken, and Toledo can't do it alone.

"You can't expect the City of Toledo to just spend, to do it alone, in terms of millions…of dollars for water treatment," Brown said. "They've got to do better. We've all got to do better, but the responsibility can't [just fall] on the City of Toledo."

The emergency funding will go to farmers in 20 Ohio counties along the Western Lake Erie Watershed.

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