Farmers needed for $900,000 farmer-led conservation project

The application period is open for farmers in the Maumee River Watershed who are interested in being a part of the Farmer Advocate for Conservation program.

“We know that there are a lot of farmers doing really great things for soil health and water quality in this part of the state, and we want to elevate the voices of those farmers,” said Stephanie Singer, Western Lake Erie Basin outreach education specialist with The Nature Conservancy. “This program is designed to help farmers learn from each other.”

Ohio Farm Bureau member Jeff Duling will be taking part in the program as an advocate. He farms in Putnam County and has used some unorthodox conservation practices on his ground, including putting some type of cover crop on every single acre. He looks forward to sharing his conservation work with other farmers in his area.

“My farms are covered in either wheat, cereal rye or some type of crop because I can’t tolerate seeing bare ground and water laying on my fields,” Duling said. “All of my neighbors want to talk about yields and I get good yields too, but I’m looking at the long term as far as the quality of my soil. I am hopeful this training will help me communicate why I do what I do with those that farm around me.”

Farmer Advocate for Conservation participants will be compensated for their time to attend the training seminar and work with other farmers in developing best practices for soil health and water quality.

The first training will occur in January and February 2021 and will be completely virtual, which will allow farmers to train in the comfort of their own home or office. Another training is scheduled for March/April 2021. The compensation is $30 per hour.

Ohio Farm Bureau is a partner of this program, along with Ohio State University, American Farmland Trust and National Wildlife Federation. To apply as a Farmer Advocate for Conservation or to nominate a farmer who would be an excellent candidate, please click this link or contact [email protected].