Interest growing about Blanchard Demonstration Farm project

Word is spreading about Ohio Farm Bureau and U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service’s five-year demonstration farm project in the Western Lake Erie Basin. 

Three farms in the Blanchard River Watershed are showcasing new and innovative conservation practices that aim to reduce and prevent nutrient runoff through the $1 million project. The farms are open to farmers, land managers, legislators, media and public.

Recently WOSU radio broadcast a segment featuring one of the three participating farmers, Chris Kurt of Kurt Farms in Dunkirk, a 470-acre grain farm with 168 acres of corn/soybean fields being used in the project. The effect on water quality of a two-stage ditch that was constructed previously will be monitored.

In another story broadcast on multiple public radio stations along the Great Lakes, Ohio farmers Duane Stateler and his son Anthony of Stateler Family Farms in McComb spoke about the importance of hosting a demonstration farm. The Statelers have a 500-acre grain farm and 7,200-head swine-to-finish operation. The project is putting 243 acres in a corn, soybean and wheat rotation and looking at how spreading manure on growing crops will affect yields and water quality.

Both news stories were facilitated by Aaron Heilers of Anna who is managing the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network project and has been talking to media in the Great Lakes region about the demonstration farms. Updates about the project can be found at BlanchardDemoFarms.org. In addition to Kurt Farms and Stateler Family Farms, Kellogg Farms in Forest is placing nutrients below ground.

Clean water is an 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 while maintaining productive farming. 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.

An eight-page water quality status report details Ohio Farm Bureau’s commitment to water quality. The goal of OFBF’s Water Quality Action Plan is to have both clean water and productive farming.

Caption: Aaron Heilers of Anna is managing the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network project and has been talking to media in the Great Lakes region about the initiative.


Kelli Milligan Stammen is director of publications for the Ohio Farm Bureau.

Amy Graves 

Amy Graves is a freelance writer from Franklin County.