WASHINGTON — An overwhelming response has prompted federal lawmakers to dump an additional $1 million into a program that will offer farmers assistance in reducing runoff into the Western Lake Erie basin.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) announced in a news release today that the additional funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service will be placed in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, a federal fund that allows farmers to apply for grants to plant winter crops to keep fertilizer from washing into the rivers.
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Federal lawmakers, just more than a week ago, announced that $2 million would be available for farmers — money which they said will make a dent in the flow of fertilizer and manure that is feeding the late-summer algae blooms that threaten Toledo’s water supply.
Farmers in 20 Ohio counties of the Lake Erie watershed are eligible to apply. The grants pay $57 to plant the winter crops.
Federal officials report that in one week after announcing the $2 million, the Natural Resources Conservation Service received more than 450 applications to plant cover crops on 86,000 acres.