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Seminar to discuss environmental regulations and agriculture

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Written Thursday, April 19, 2012  

New Zealand's unique approach to regulating water quality through "nutrient trading" between farmers within a watershed is the topic of an Ohio State University seminar that will be made available online for those unable to attend the presentation.

"Environmental Regulation and Agriculture in New Zealand: Lessons for the U.S." will be presented by Suzie Greenhalgh of Landcare Research, based in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday (April 20). The seminar will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room 333 of Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Road on OSU's main campus in Columbus. It will be webcast for anyone unable to attend in person. Visit http://go.osu.edu/AEDE to register and receive log-in information.

The program is hosted by Ohio State's Environmental Policy Initiative and the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.

As water quality issues continue to make headlines across the country, states are beginning to scrutinize their water quality policies and look for ways to handle nonpoint issues such as agricultural runoff and harmful algal blooms.

Nutrient trading is a market-based approach for protecting and improving water quality. It includes setting a goal for the total amount of nutrients that enter waters in a watershed and allows people to trade their nutrient emissions.

New Zealand is the only country that regulates the environmental impacts of agriculture, and this nutrient trading program, which works similarly to carbon trading, could serve as a model for watersheds across the globe, including those in the Great Lakes region.

"With Ohio facing growing water quality problems, we are looking at how other areas have tackled similar problems," said Brent Sohngen, professor in AEDE who also has appointments with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension. "The New Zealand program could serve as a case study for reducing nutrient runoff in the Lake Erie watershed."

Greenhalgh is the portfolio leader for Enhancing Policy Development at Landcare Research, a worldwide leader on agricultural and environmental policy design. She is working on the design and implementation of agricultural nutrient management policies and other environmental markets, and provided expert testimony on the regulations in the Lake Taupo region on New Zealand's North Island.

Before joining Landcare Research, Greenhalgh worked at the World Resources Institute, where she developed protocols to implement nutrient trading programs and reverse auctions in the U.S.

She holds a doctorate in resource economics from Ohio State and a bachelor's degree in agricultural science from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Ohio State's Environmental Policy Initiative supports environmental policy research on campus by providing support for seminars, conferences and graduate research.

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