The Ohio Pork Council and the Ohio Poultry Association have joined the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Ohio Dairy Producers Association in opposing cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.

The four organizations united, releasing the following statement:

“Improving the quality of the Great Lakes has, and will, remain a top priority of ours today, and for generations to come. In order to be successful in our efforts of restoring the lakes, and preventing further damage, we recognize the progress made by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and see value in continuing to support the effort and build-off the momentum. Our farmers have reassured their commitment to restoring the lakes, and in doing so, supporting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative launched in 2010 with the following areas of focus: cleaning up the Great Lakes Areas of Concern, preventing invasive species, reducing nutrient runoff and restoring habitat to protect native species. Last year, GLRI-funded projects totaled more than $154 million — more than $13 million of those funds were directed specifically to Ohio. With the areas of focus in mind, these projects were directed towards education, research and outreach.


“While some of the GLRI-funded projects counterbalanced our farmers’ efforts, we recognize the significant benefit of those programs that enhanced farmers’ work to protect to the lakes. For example, Ohio livestock and poultry farmers worked closely with GLRI-funded projects to identify the means to better implement conservation systems, and utilize nutrients more wisely and efficiently. What’s more, state and federal agriculture-related agencies, like the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Ohio Department of Agriculture, have relied on the GLRI’s resources when strategically targeting the most serious threats to the Great Lakes.

“In closing, we encourage federal elected officials to remain focused on improving the Great Lakes, and urge them to support funding for the GLRI in the coming Fiscal Year. Through continued funding of programs like the GLRI, we hope to remain good stewards of the Great Lakes, and promote cleaner, safer, water for our families, friends and neighbors.”

More opposition to proposed cuts

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued a statement on her website that states she will fight to make sure the initiative does not suffer as a result of budget cuts.

“It is outrageous that President Trump’s budget request completely eliminates funding to protect the Great Lakes.  The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has always received bipartisan support and continues to be absolutely critical to protecting our Great Lakes, including fishing, boating, hunting, and fighting invasive species.  Our Great Lakes economy creates 1.5 million jobs and are part of our Michigan way of life.  I will continue working across the aisle to not only stop cuts to Great Lakes funding but  also to other important initiatives that are important to Michigan families, manufacturers, farmers, and small businesses,” Stabenow stated.