Statement by EDF’s Suzy Friedman on new USDA funds for Lake Erie Basin farmers

August 19, 2014
Contact: 
Chandler Clay, (202) 572-3312, cclay@edf.org

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that $2 million in conservation funds will be sent to Ohio to help implement conservation techniques that will help improve water quality in the wake of the Lake Erie algae bloom.

“I am pleased to see the USDA dedicating increased funds for conservation techniques,” said EDF’s director of agricultural sustainability Suzy Friedman. “I hope that the additional funds can help farmers increase adoption of highly effective practices such as nutrient use efficiency, cover crops, reduced tillage, and strategic filtering practices that can capture nutrients before they reach Lake Erie. But there is much more to be done when it comes to improving water quality.”

“Avoiding the toxic algae blooms like the one that threatened Toledo’s water supply will require longer term solutions with a strategically coordinated approach,” Friedman said. “In addition to helping address challenges in Lake Erie, USDA investment in highly effective conservation practices will help position farmers to meet the growing demand from food companies and retailers for sustainable products. By combining federal investment with the supply chain demand, we can reach a scale of adoption that will make crises like the one in Toledo a thing of the past.”

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