Demonstration Farms featured nationally

The conservation work being done within the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network project has caught the attention of national agricultural media.

The northwest Ohio project recently was featured on the popular “This Week in AgriBusiness” program. The five-year demonstration farm project in the Western Lake Erie Basin is a partnership between Ohio Farm Bureau and U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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 the public. One of the participating farms, Kurt Farms in Dunkirk, is featured during Hardin County Field Day Aug. 26.

Featured on “This Week in AgriBusiness” were farmers Chris Kurt and Shane Kellogg, as well as Aaron Heilers of Anna who is managing the demonstration farms project. Kurt Farms is a 470-acre grain farm, with 168 acres of corn/soybean fields being used to study the affect on water quality of a two-stage ditch that was constructed previously on the farm. The Kellogg Farm covers 305 acres in a corn/soybean rotation. This site is focusing on subsurface nutrient placement and its affect on yields, as well as potential fertilizer savings using different methods, timing and placements of cover crops.

Among other topics, Kurt talked to reporter Dave Russell about the importance of participating as a Blanchard River demonstration farm and embracing its outcomes to better water quality. “Farmers don’t like to have things legislated on them, so we’re trying to be proactive,” Kurt said.

Kellogg spoke about purchasing a strip-tillage tool and the new subsurface placement of nutrients on his farm in Forest. A third farm, Stateler Family Farms in McComb, is a 500-acre grain farm and 7,200-head swine-to-finish operation. Their part of the project focuses on how spreading manure on growing crops on 243 acres in a corn, soybean and wheat rotation affects yields and water quality.

Clean water is an important natural resource, and the demonstration farms project is one way 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 Ohio Farm Bureau’s Water Quality Action Plan is to have both clean water and productive farming.

Co-hosted by Max Armstrong and Orion Samuelson, “This Week In AgriBusiness,” is broadcast on the RFD-TV satellite and cable channel that is carried on more than 120 additional local television stations throughout the nation.