Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service have signed a new, five-year agreement to continue research for the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network project. The ongoing efforts of the two organizations will study ideas that emphasize protecting Ohio’s water resources and soil health through innovative agricultural practices.

After the establishment of the project in 2015, three demonstration farms were created as models for new innovations that reduce and prevent agricultural nutrient runoff and have shared those discoveries with local farmers, land management agencies and the public. The demonstration farms are a key component of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Water Quality Action Plan, a comprehensive initiative to help farmers proactively improve and protect water quality.

“Being able to conduct this type of research on real farms, each of different scales and scopes, has been invaluable as we look for ways for farmers to maintain their production levels while also protecting the quality of water and their soils,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “I look forward to the ongoing research on the demo farms that will help farmers across Ohio learn about proven practices that will keep water clean and healthy for themselves and for their neighbors downstream.”

Over the next five years, the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms project will continue research in the areas of edge of field monitoring, drainage water management, cover crops and economic analysis and will begin new research on precision agriculture, subsurface nutrient placement, application timing and strip tillage.

In addition to increasing farmer engagement and adoption of practices being used on the demo farms, other objectives for the program will be to evaluate new and existing on-farm conservation practices for feasibility, practicality and outcomes at the farm level; develop economic analysis for all practices to determine cost-saving opportunities; and measure which practices are most cost-effective while reducing nutrient loss.

“The farmers involved in this project have been very open to new ideas and have been instrumental in finding the baselines for on-going testing of various water quality practices,” said Aaron Heilers, Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network project manager. “Their commitment to another five years is a testament to how farmers are eager to find long-term solutions to Ohio’s water quality issues.”

NRCS will continue to provide eligible farm operators with financial assistance through conservation program contracts for conservation system implementation and will provide technical guidance to the advisory committee. NRCS also will continue to provide conservation experts to speak during field days and other outreach events.

“Inviting farmers, agribusinesses, lawmakers and other stakeholders to see, firsthand, what is being tested on these demo farms has really opened people’s eyes,” said Terry Cosby, state conservationist for Ohio. “Being able to realize what farmers are currently doing and what conservation practices could be utilized in the future is key when it comes to providing the necessary resources to put many best management practices in place at the farm level.”

Meet the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network farm families and learn more about the research being done on their farms at blancharddemofarms.org.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities. Learn more at ofbf.org.

 

This is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Ty Higgins, 614-246-8231 or [email protected].

 

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
Suggested Tags: