Farmers putting own cash into anti-pollution measures

OHIO - Jeff Wuebker points proudly to three towering, baby blue storage tanks he bought to replace his aging steel ones.

Wuebker believes the thick plastic tanks reduce the chances that the liquid nitrogen fertilizer they contain will spill and then pollute streams near his western Ohio farm.

The 10,000-gallon, 13-foot-tall tanks cost $18,000, and Wuebker was only able to get $2,000 from the government to help with the cost.

Many farmers are putting more of their own money into anti-pollution and conservation measures - upgrading storage tanks, building dikes and planting grass barriers to absorb and filter soil and chemicals that runoff water can carry from the farm.

The farmers' actions are driven by pressure from city dwellers who have moved nearby, concern about protecting their own drinking water, a desire to preserve the land that grows their crops and feeds their livestock, and tougher environmental regulations.

Beginning Jan. 1, for example, any Ohio farmer with fertilizer tanks that hold more than 5,000 gallons will be required to have dikes or some sort of barrier around them to contain spills.

Wuebker, 35, and his brother, Alan, grow corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa on the 900-acre farm, as well as raise cows and pigs.

Wuebker estimates he has spent about $25,000 of his own money in the past five years for anti-pollution measures, five times more than he's spent in previous years.

Source: Arkan Beacon Journal
calendar icon 25 March 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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