Eleven ways farmers are working to protect water

Buckeye Farm News

1. OFBF is committing $1 million in expertise, research and on-the-ground programs to address these issues.

2. Farmers are investing tens of millions of dollars of their own money in establishing conservation practices on their farms. Hundreds of thousands of acres across Ohio have been voluntarily enrolled in conservation programs and are managed using these conservation practices.

3. OFBF supported passage of Senate Bill 150, an important legislative approach that requires fertilizer applicators to be certified and is workable for farmers.

4. In collaboration with the Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program and other farm groups, investing more than $1 million for on-farm, edge-of-field research to seek solutions to runoff problems. Ohio State University in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture is conducting the three-year project.

5. Launched the Healthy Water Ohio initiative, which brings together a diverse group of stakeholders from conservation, business and industry, universities, water suppliers, agriculture and others to develop a 20- to 30-year comprehensive sustainable water resources management plan.

6. Promoted the 4-R Nutrient Stewardship program and other conservation practices such as filter strips, no till or reduced tillage. A third-party certification program has been developed for commercial nutrient applicators that will verify adoption of nutrient stewardship practices.

7. 4,421 farmers attended 163 water quality training sessions held by Ohio State University Extension.

8. Encouraging farmers to use soil tests, which help identify the appropriate amount of fertilizer needed for their farms. One survey showed 82 percent compliance with Ohio State University-approved testing practices.

9. Supported a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant that led to a reduction of more than 180,000 pounds of phosphorus fertilizer across 8,653 acres in the region.

10. Supporting the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a federal program grant that promotes coordination between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to farmers. This $50 million grant, which is supported by Ohio, Indiana and Michigan state governments, Farm Bureaus and environmental organizations, can help farmers address nutrient management issues in northwest Ohio to reduce the harmful algal blooms in the Lake Erie watershed.

11. Successfully petitioned to have state funding retained for Heidelberg University’s National Center of Water Quality Research and Ohio State University’s Sea Grant, which are studying the Great Lakes and water quality issues.