tile drainage

Sharing information on spring planting, first cutting hay, fertilizer and fuel prices rival discussions on primary elections, the national economy and international affairs. There’s plenty to talk about this time of year. If you want to “change the subject,” here’s a couple of discussion topics that could help you generate policy suggestions for your county Farm Bureau Policy Development Committee.

Drainage management in Ohio

Petition ditches and subsurface tile systems are valuable drainage assets, providing resource management to efficiently plant, cultivate and harvest crops. Many of these systems are well within their second century of service. Given the amount of public and private investment in these assets, Ohio sits in one of the largest concentrations of drainage infrastructure in North America.

Community stakeholders are exploring needs for drainage. While some support less maintenance on petition ditches to allow the ground to return to a more natural state, others advocate that all public and private surface and subsurface structures be strictly maintained or improved to provide benefits across all fields, woodlots and developed properties. Where do you find the “balance” on care, maintenance and upkeep of Ohio’s public and private drainage infrastructure to benefit everyone?

Additional information/materials on this subject:

  • Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network Website – Improving the benefits of systematic farm drainage compliment efforts to improve water quality. Work being done at the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms in Ohio is helping researchers determine which conservation practices work best for reducing nutrient and sediment loss. This information will help show farmers what tools and practices they can implement on their farms to improve agriculture’s impact on downstream water quality in Ohio.
  • Ohio’s Country Journal Website – Designing Drainage Systems for the Future: With growing water quality issues in the region and changing climate, drainage systems will play a critical role in managing waters across numerous landscapes. Many governmental and non-governmental environmental incentive programs like the H2Ohio and EQIP now offer financial support for adoption and management of drainage-related practices.
    • OFBF Website – OFBF Worked to Modernize Ditch Petition Process: Ohio Farm Bureau worked with county commissioners and engineers, OSU Extension, SWCDs and others on recommendations for how to improve and modernize Ohio’s ditch petition process. Those recommendations were the basis for House Bill 340, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law December 2020.

Discussion guide

Conservancy districts in Ohio

In response to the Great Flood of 1913, the Ohio General Assembly passed the Conservancy Act of Ohio. The act allowed the creation of conservancy districts to provide flood protection for communities within the state. There are over 20 Conservancy Districts, several with over a century of service. Some encompass watersheds at a multi-county levels measured in square miles. Some manage specific land holdings measured in acres, too.

Some community stakeholders have advocated that conservancy districts and their holdings should be protected and preserved much in the same way as a national park. Others continue to support maintenance of infrastructure and programs to primarily address flooding and water management. Where do we find the “balance?”

Additional information/materials on this subject:

  • Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District: The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan for flood reduction and water conservation in the Muskingum River watershed, the state’s largest wholly contained watershed, covering more than 8,000 square miles.
  • Hunter’s Run Conservancy District: The District was created in response to numerous years of flooding in the Hunter’s Run and Upper Hocking Watershed, with the last flood occurring in 1948. The district originally consisted of eight flood control dams and twenty-two sediment control structures, with much of the infrastructure installed by 1961. In addition to the farms, homes and businesses in the flood plain, numerous bridges and several miles of roadway are protected by these structures.
  • Ohio History Central Website: Ohio Conservancy Law: Explore some state history and basic background on creation of the Ohio Conservancy Law at the Ohio History Connection website.

Discussion guide

Remember, you are not limited to these materials – Feel free to discuss additional topics and issues generated from the local newspaper, other publications and/or key events happening in your neighborhood.

Keep in touch with Farm Bureau

What are Community Councils?

Community Councils archives, essential forms

Remember, participants are not limited to these discussion topics and materials – Feel free to discuss additional topics and issues generated from the local newspaper, other publications and/or key events happening in your neighborhood.

Need some additional help? Contact your county Farm Bureau office for assistance.

Councils can access the council roster, meeting summary sheet and activity sheet forms online.

Remember to send council meeting forms and correspondence directly to the county Farm Bureau.

Many of Farm Bureau’s action plans started with conversation around a kitchen table, living room or front porch; lively discussion continues to develop using web applications, too.

To join a community council, contact the county Farm Bureau office.

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland 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
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
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
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
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
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