CELINA, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) met with business and community leaders in Mercer County today. Brown discussed efforts to boost American manufacturing, support Ohio agriculture, invest in infrastructure, and clean up Grand Lake St. Marys.

“We all benefit when we leverage federal resources into local economic development – from entrepreneurship and innovation to infrastructure and workforce investment,” Brown said. “That’s why I’m glad to be in Mercer County today – tackling the important issues to help ensure a bright future for the next generations of Ohioans.”

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Brown helped secure $1 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) efforts in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed. EQIP offers technical assistance for farmers to plant cover crops, build manure storage facilities, install filter strips, and complete other conservation measures that keep phosphorus out of Grand Lake St. Marys. Studies on Grand Lake St. Marys have shown that excess phosphorus loading of the lake has been the primary reason for toxic algae blooms during the past few summers.

Brown also played a key role in the development of a five-year comprehensive farm bill, which was signed into law in February 2014. Brown helped write the centerpiece of the deficit reduction measures in the bill, which reformed the farm safety net by eliminating fixed-price support programs, reducing overlap with crop insurance, simplifying application and administrative processes, and saving billions of taxpayer dollars.

Brown is a strong supporter of American manufacturing. In December 2014, Brown’s manufacturing jobs legislation to create the first-ever national network of manufacturing hubs was signed into law. Cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI) will establish a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and create thousands of high-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs while enhancing the United States’ role as the world’s leader in advanced manufacturing.

Brown has also consistently advocated for long-term infrastructure investments to maintain Ohio’s roads, bridges, and sewer systems. Brown has introduced legislation that would help communities upgrade outdated water systems to improve water quality while keeping rates affordable for residents and small business. Brown’s legislation is aimed at updating the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) clean water affordability policy, which can put undue strain on the budgets of local communities. The current EPA affordability policy does not provide for a full and accurate representation of the financial impacts of clean water investment programs on communities struggling to meet federal regulations for improving their water infrastructure.