Budget cuts threaten H2Ohio program


COLUMBUS — The H2Ohio program, which aims at reducing phosphorus in the Maumee River Watershed, is in jeopardy due to the new coronavirus and its effect on the state budget.

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda issued a statement Tuesday “applauding Ohio farmers’ demonstration of voluntary conservation” but with a caveat.

“While the rollout of the program was very thoughtfully executed, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a necessary reevaluation of ODA’s budget for the H2Ohio Initiative. ODA is committed to working within the administration’s budgetary guidelines and will communicate with farmers the status of H2Ohio going forward based upon those guidelines once they are known.”

Nearly 2,000 farmers submitted applications to enroll more than 1.1 million acres in the program which “far exceeded expectations for the agricultural portion of the H2Ohio program.”

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