Green Industry Advocacy Day Recap
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Written by Andrew Muntz, OTF Trustee
On February 25, members from green industry organizations
from across the state met at the State house to discuss issues that
effect and influence our day to day practices.
The groups represented at the event included the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation, Ohio Nursery and
Landscape Association, Nursery Growers of Lake County Ohio, Ohio Landscape
Association, Ohio Lawn Care Association, Ohio Pest
Management Association, and Ohio Professional Applicators for Responsible
Regulation. The room was packed as members of these groups were able to hear from and speak with
representatives, senators, and other members of the state government.
The morning began with speakers Senator Bob Petersen (Senate
Ways & Means Committee), Chairman Brian Hill (House Agriculture Committee),
and Representative John Patterson (House Agriculture committee). Each of these speakers has a special place
for the green industry either as a practicing member or representing a large
constituency of green industry members.
At lunch, the group heard from Joe Testa from the Ohio Department of
Taxation. He, along with other members
of the legislature, where fresh off of the Governor’s State of the State
address, the night before in Wilmington. At the State of the State address, Governor
Kasich introduced his budget proposal for the upcoming years. Mr. Testa was
eager to share the concepts involved, as well as fielding questions from the
The afternoon was filled with meetings with both
representatives and senators from across the state. Each member of the group met with their
respective congressmen and women from their voting districts. During these meetings, many issues and topics
were discussed, but there were a few headline issues that took center stage.
Biennial Operating Budgets:
As a group we supported the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s budget as is,
which includes the necessary increases in funding to support the fertilizer
certifications addressed in Senate Bill 150.
Another topic brought up when talking about the budget, was how
important the OARDC and OSU extension teams are to our industry. We rely heavily on them for new research and education and expressed our appreciation for these groups to the legislators.
As most of you are aware, water quality is an extremely hot topic throughout the state (and country). After the
issues last summer in Toledo with algae blooms and the crisis that the
local residents had to deal with, many across the state have taken action. Both
the House of Representatives and the Senate have been working on bills that
would address some of these issues. SB 1
and HB 61 are front and center to help deal with the water quality across the
state. The basic highlights of the bills
- prohibiting the application of fertilizer and manure on
frozen ground and during certain water conditions in the western basin of Lake
- Termination of the prohibitions after 5 years
- moving the Ag Pollution Abatement Program from ODNR to ODA
- requirements for phosphorous monitoring for
publicly owned treatment works
- beginning July 2020, prohibits deposit of dredged material
in Lake Erie and Tributaries
- changes to the Healthy Lake Erie Fund
- Requires the Director of OEPA to coordinate harmful algae
management and response
We will be sure to keep you updated as these bills progress.
Pollinators were also discussed throughout
the day. As we know, there are concerns
over the effects of products we use during the year on the honey bee
population. There are many issues that
affect the health of the bee hives, and as a group we wanted law makers to know
that we share the concerns of the public and we support the efforts to improve pollinator habitats and the research
needed to determine the decline in populations.
Water quantity was the last major topic discussed. As an industry we can agree that our plants cannot survive without water. We also
can generally agree that we need to use our water intelligently, so that future generations can enjoy the green industry as we know it today. One of the highlights was the proclamation
that was made by the Governor to declare July as Smart Irrigation Month.
The day was full of great meetings and interactions with
both legislators and our colleagues in the industry. As a group, one of the major points of
emphasis to the legislators is that we are here as a resource to them. We are a tight knit group that can act as a
voice if they are ever in question of the issues at hand.