Monday, September 15, marked the kickoff of the first in a series Healthy Soil for Healthy Water conferences, co-sponsored by Greenleaf Advisors and The Ohio State University. Over 100 representatives of academia, industry, agencies, non-profits and, critically, farmers and agricultural representatives were in attendance for a day of collaborative integration of research and practices. Keynote speakers Bruce McPheron of OSU and Karl Gebhart from the Ohio EPA were accompanied by presentations from groups like the US EPA, The Nature Conservancy, and NOAA. Coming close on the heels of the Toledo municipal drinking-water system shutdown last month, this event was welcomed as extremely timely and relevant to one of the most pressing environmental issues of the day.
Feedback was that the event was packed with excellent research, tempered with the understanding that there is no easy path to solving the problem of agricultural nutrient pollution in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. However, this event was an important step towards the development of true interdisciplinary and collaborative best management practices that will identify the right combination of technologies for the right times and places to have the biggest benefit to farmers, communities, and the environment.
Case study teams focusing on specific regions in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds will continue to develop their recommendations throughout the year, in preparation for the next meeting, which will be held May 18-21, 2015. To learn more about the recent workshop or to become involved in future conferences, please contact Dr. Andy Ward (firstname.lastname@example.org) with Ohio State University or Dan Peerless (email@example.com) with Greenleaf Advisors.