Rep. Jim Buchy...
to be classified as Agriculture
COLUMBUS—State Representative Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) and State
Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) today announced that the Ohio
House of Representatives voted to concur with the Senate amendments on
House Bill 276. The bill will now become law pending the signature of
House Bill 276, which was jointly sponsored by Buchy and Gentile,
clarifies the definition of agriculture as it pertains to Ohio zoning
laws for on-farm energy production facilities, such as on-farm
anaerobic digesters—a change that will enable farmers to use byproducts
for bio-energy production without cumbersome regulations that currently
deter this environmentally friendly activity.
The bill also defines algaculture—the farming of algae—in the Ohio
Revised Code, clarifying it as an agricultural process under Ohio law.
“The combination of on-farm energy production and algaculture will
reduce nutrient run-off from our farms,” Buchy said. “Using the
products we have available at our farms will solve problems that occur
when there is a shortage of storage for farm byproducts, hence
assisting farmers with manure management programs.”
Among the amendments included by the Ohio Senate is the creation of a
legislative task force to study the use and impact of anaerobic
digesters, including how they are regulated in other states, their
environmental impact, and how state laws governing them affect
agriculture, residents and local government.
“The creation of an anaerobic digester task force will allow policy
makers to continue shaping a public policy to benefit farming
opportunities that help the environment,” Gentile said. “The potential
for the expansion of the digester industry and algae industry in this
state is expansive. This is about jobs, and the outcome of these policy
changes will result in more jobs for this state.”
Algae thrive off phosphorous and other minerals along with heat.
These components will all be available on farms as a result of evolving
technology. When harvested from controlled and natural water sources
algae can be turned into fuels, plastics, pharmaceuticals and many
House Bill 276 will allow farmers to use anaerobic digesters as a part
of a nutrient management plan or to consume any other agricultural
organic byproduct. Up to 50 percent of the feedstock for the digester
may originate from off-farm production processes. The
advancements of algaculture and anaerobic digesters are expected to aid
in the cleanup of Ohio water and protect natural habitats by aiding in
the removal of phosphorous and other nutrients.
“With these changes to the Ohio Revised Code, farmers throughout Ohio
will be able to expand their businesses to the new frontiers of
agriculture,” Buchy said. “It will also significantly aid our
communities in keeping unwanted nutrients out of Grand Lake St. Marys.”