Program to help farmers reduce phosphorus entering Lake Erie

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows the algae bloom on Lake Erie in 2011 which according to NOAA was the worst in decades. The algae growth is fed by phosphorus mainly from farm fertilizer runoff and sewage treatment plants, leaving behind toxins that have contributed to oxygen-deprived dead zones where fish can't survive. The toxins can kill animals and sicken humans. Ohio's fourth-largest city, Toledo, told residents late Saturday Aug. 2, 2014 not to drink from its water supply that was fouled by toxins possibly from algae on Lake Erie. (AP Photo/NOAA)
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigan's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is collaborating with local agriculture and conservation partners to help farmers reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie.

The state says the Soil Testing to Reduce Agriculture Nutrient Delivery (STRAND) program will help farmers near the western Lake Erie basin make informed decisions about nutrient applications to cropland based on soil testing.

Agricultural runoff, such as phosphorus from fertilizer, is one of the known causes of algae blooms in Lake Erie. The summertime blooms turn the waters of the lake's western end into a pea soup color and are the cause of tainted drinking water, fish kills and beach closures.

STRAND will work with farmers to increase adoption of grid/zone soil testing and other nutrient management practices.