Clean water is our state’s most important natural resource and Ohio farmers are stepping up to help protect it. In September 2014, Ohio Farm Bureau launched its Water Quality Action Plan, which details a series of proactive steps to improve and protect water quality. The project has now committed $2 million of member funds to help farmers improve their knowledge and develop techniques that make sense agronomically and environmentally.
Over the past 1 ½ years, more than 10,000 farmers have taken fertilizer certification classes, representing more than 2 million acres. They have put in cover crops, filter strips, two-stage ditches and other conservation efforts and are participating in on-farm research to determine the best methods to reduce nutrient loss. They also are working with Ohio State University Extension educators to put in nutrient management plans to help identify ways to reduce nutrient and sediment loss.
This week Ohio Farm Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service unveiled a $1 million, five-year demonstration farm project in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
Three farms in the Blanchard River Watershed will showcase new and innovative conservation practices that reduce and prevent nutrient run-off. Those farms will be open to farmers, land managers, legislators, the media and the public. Updates about the project can be found at BlanchardDemoFarms.org.
NRCS Chief Jason Weller recently said the federal government is impressed by how farmers have been embracing best management practices—results show western Lake Erie farmers have reduced sediment loss by half between 2006 and 2012.
These are just a few highlights of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Water Quality Action Plan. An eight-page water quality status report can be found at FarmersForWater.org, detailing Ohio Farm Bureau’s commitment to water quality. The ultimate goal of farmers’ efforts is to have both clean water and productive farming.