Agriculture Must Own The Manure Problem

Posted with Permission from the Authors

This letter is in response to the August 21st letter by Terry McClure “Regulation is not answer to water issue”.  Mr. McClure supports more voluntary practices for farmers as well as more testing and more studies regarding the source of Lake Erie algal blooms.


More testing and study is simply a stall tactic designed to avoid addressing the problem. The science is clear. Agricultural runoff is slowly killing Lake Erie. The tragedy is our governmental officials and many agricultural groups are completely unwilling to take the necessary action.


Jeffrey Reutter of Stone Labs at OSU said on 8/23/16 during a presentation in Perrysburg, “The farmers now know it’s mostly them.” He said theoretical models show that it is possible to get a 40-percent reduction in phosphorus going into the lake, but this requires extensive changes, not likely to be accomplished (only with) voluntarily measures.   


Ohio, Michigan and Indiana have seen a huge influx of CAFOs over the past 20 years.  There are 146 industrial-size CAFOs in the western basin, housing nearly 12 million animals that produce 700 million gallons of waste annually. It’s also important to note that these CAFOs received almost $17 million in taxpayer-subsidized payments between 2008 and 2015.  ODA permits allow CAFOs to merely sell all their manure to someone else in order to circumvent existing rules. Recent legislation did nothing to close this huge loophole.


Mr. McClure uses the scare tactic “the consumer will ultimately end up paying the cost in terms of high food prices.”  Sadly, taxpayers are already paying dearly to treat their drinking water contaminated by toxic algal blooms fueled by nutrient runoff.


Susan Matz

Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie



Vickie Askins

Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie