BG school officials hear levy is too taxing for farmers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Besides agreeing that kids need good schools, there seemed to be little common ground plowed Wednesday evening when a local farmer met with Bowling Green City School officials, teachers, parents and community leaders. After helping to send out 5,000 mailers to district voters, urging them to vote against the school levy, Richard Chamberlain was asked to attend one of the superintendent’s coffee chats Wednesday evening. Chamberlain came armed with a stack of property tax bills. Chamberlain said the 6-mill school levy is putting the bulk of the burden on farmers. School officials said they are trying to give students the schools they need to succeed – and a property tax is their only option. Superintendent Francis Scruci explained the school building project to Chamberlain, showing him the charts that he carries everywhere. Plans call for the consolidation of the three elementaries on property north of the middle school, and for renovations and an addition to the high school. “I appreciate it,” Chamberlain said. But it’s the way the project is being funded that doesn’t sit well with the farmer. “You would be more than willing to push the burden for this great project onto the few,” he said. After the meeting, Chamberlain said all he wanted was school officials to admit they were unfairly putting the millage on the backs of the farming community. But Scruci and High School Principal Jeff Dever said the district needs new schools, and the state legislature…

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Scout concerned about effect of CAFOs on water quality

Dear BG Independent News, I am a Life Scout from Troop 777 of Toledo, Ohio. I am writing to you to voice my concerns about the effect concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFO’s have on the recent Lake Erie algae blooms. According to the Sierra Club, there are 146 registered CAFO’s currently in the western Lake Erie Basin. The CAFOs are responsible for generating 700,000,000 gallons of animal waste each year, which is more than the sewage produced by the cities of Los Angeles and Chicago combined. There is a possibility that the waste is seeping out of the storage lagoons, and into the ground, leading to the contamination of nearby groundwater. additionally, the waste is spread directly onto crop fields, resulting in the run-off of excess nutrients into Lake Erie and the feeding of the dangerous algae.   This issue does not only affect this generation, but future generations to come. My wish is for those who read this to help stop the CAFO’s from aiding in dangerous algae blooms, and help make the lives of the citizens healthier. Sincerely, Bryan Fitzpatrick

Farming & food are a family affair for the Froboses

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bob Frobose’s father didn’t want to keep his son on the farm. After a few bad years, Frobose said, his father sold his herd when he retired in 1974. When Frobose graduated from high school in 1971, and decided not to go to college where he hoped to play basketball, he stayed in the food industry, training to be a meat cutter in a small grocery chain. He’s still a meat cutter, but now he owns the store. And he raises the cattle he processes. He had no problem keeping his own sons in agriculture. All three – Ben, Jake and Zack – are involved in the family business, which now has a number of enterprises. And with grandchildren now romping around the barn, they look forward to this being a fifth generation operation. Frobose told the family’s story during a Food Processing from Farm to Plate event, sponsored by the Wood County Farm Bureau earlier this month. The tour began fittingly in the Frobose barn in Pemberville. “Dad had made it pretty clear that after he retired he didn’t want me to have anything to do with farming,” Frobose said. “He felt there were better opportunities off the farm.” Frobose said he had a good upbringing on the farm though. Both working with the animals, and shooting baskets wherever he could hang a hoop. He joked that now he could tell everyone he was a good player because no one remembers otherwise. “You’re…

Young African leaders visit community garden, discuss sustainability

Submitted by THE COMMON GOOD Members of the Young African Leaders Initiative’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders gathered with local volunteers at the community garden this past Saturday to see an example of small-scale sustainable farming on Saturday. The YALI members took some time to work the garden and harvest some vegetables before coming together to partake in a roundtable discussion about sustainability. The group discussed comparisons of agriculture in Africa versus agriculture here, as well as cultural views and practices embracing sustainability. The presence of different perspectives provided insight on global views regarding sustainability. To catch a glance of small-scale sustainable farming yourself, stop by the community garden located at the Peace Lutheran Church (1021 W. Wooster St. Bowling Green, OH 43402). Take a look at the communication board at the garden or visit for more information.

Wood County to direct growth with new land use plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The new Wood County Land Use Plan does more than give lip service to organized development – it’s added some teeth. Recently the Wood County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the new land use plan, which will direct growth to areas with the roads, waterlines and sewer lines to handle it – while maintaining the agricultural and natural areas that are also important to the county. “It’s nice because you have zoning, and zoning is great for directing growth, said Dave Steiner, director of the county planning commission. But the land use plan takes it a step further. “Without a plan, you don’t have something to fall back on.” So if a developer wants to rezone some acreage in the middle of prime farmland for industrial use, the land use plan helps back up the rejection by the county and townships, Steiner said. The plan takes into consideration the latest census information, demographics and development. The plan also looks at “reinvestment areas,” where previous development has “fallen by the wayside” and may need a jumpstart with brownfield development, Steiner said. And the plan defends agricultural areas that are still vital to the county’s economy. The county had outgrown the last land use plan, which had been adopted in 2007. “It was not nearly as comprehensive as this one,” Steiner told the commissioners. The guiding principles of the land use plan are as follows: Support sustainable land use and development patterns, and identify…

Farms are victims, & part of the solution, as climate changes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Farmers are in the crosshairs of climate change. The climate is moving south, said Neocles Leontis, one of the founders of the Black Swamp Green Team. That means as the years go by our weather will be more like what we associate with areas further south, and that means problems for agriculture. The Black Swamp Green team is a loose-knit alliance of faith communities, advocacy groups, non-profits, and individuals that promotes energy efficiency, renewal energy, and sustainability. As Pastor Deb Conklin, of Peace Lutheran said: “Who we are is whoever shows up when we make a decision.” On Sunday the team hosted the Creation Celebration at Peace Lutheran. The event focused on agriculture, the challenges it faces, the ways of addressing those challenges, and its role in combating climate change. Alan Sundermeier, of the Ohio State University Extension Service, catalogued the dangers. The effects of climate change can harm farms, whether it’s increasingly severe rainstorms or drought. Drought, Sundermeier said, poses the greatest danger. High water rarely destroys an entire crop. Drought can. But unpredictable weather, such as can late freeze, can also play havoc with crops. “The variability is more severe.” That severe weather can also carry pests with them. People have to keep in mind that: “Whatever we do, whatever small part we play, affects the rest of the world in big and small ways.” The effects of rising temperature are many. Leontis noted that 2016 was the warmest year on record….

Creation Care Celebration to be held on Sunday

The Black Swamp Green Team’s second Creation Care Celebration will take place Sunday, April 23 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Peace Lutheran Church, 1201 Martindale Rd at W. Wooster in Bowling Green. The event celebrates local efforts, organizations and leaders practicing good stewardship by increasing awareness and practices for sustainable renewable energy use and healthy living. Lunch will be included, as will music by the Peace Band. Keynote presentation and panel will be on the topic of sustainable and regenerative agriculture by Don Schooner of Schooner Farms, Alan Sundermeier from the Ohio State University Extension Office, and Paul Herringshaw of Bowling Green. There will be recognitions, displays, and electric car test drives. A tour of Schooner Farms will immediately follow the event at 3:30 pm. The Black Swamp Green Team is a collaboration of faith communities, advocacy groups, non-profit entities, and individuals engaged in promoting and practicing good creation care among itself and its constituents so as to: implement energy efficiency; the use of renewable energy; the production and delivery of local renewable energy; and, thereby, improve its overall stewardship of creation.