H2Ohio Statewide Expansion April 2024

Note: Story updated May 3.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is extending the H2Ohio enrollment deadline for row crop producers who farm in Ohio’s 64 counties outside of the Western Lake Erie Basin. Farmers will have until Friday, May 31, 2024, to enroll.

ODA will enroll 500,000 acres, and enrollment will be available on a first come, first served basis. For more information about the extended deadline and enrollment details, please contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District.

DeWine launched H2Ohio in 2019 as a comprehensive initiative aimed at addressing various threats to water quality, including harmful algal blooms caused by phosphorus runoff. H2Ohio’s agricultural program, which initially focused solely on farms located in northwest Ohio near Lake Erie, incentivizes farmers to implement science-based, proven best management practices to prevent nutrient runoff and improve water quality.

“H2Ohio is now firmly established in northwest Ohio, giving us the opportunity to take this program to other parts of the state,” said Governor DeWine. “We appreciate the commitment that our current H2Ohio farmers have shown to protecting Lake Erie, and we look forward to engaging more producers across Ohio on how they can contribute to cleaner water throughout the state.”

How to apply

To apply, farmers should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District and provide up-to-date soil tests and information on planned crops and rotations, yield goals, and planned fertilizer applications. Producers who enroll will receive support to develop and implement Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans, which encourages better utilization of nutrients applied.

“The progress we’ve made with water quality in northwest Ohio has shown the agricultural community is dedicated to doing their part,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Brian Baldridge. “Offering the same incentives to our farmers across the rest of the state ensures we are all working together to continue to protect our most valuable resource.”

ODA works closely with county SWCDs to administer participant contracts, provide technical assistance, and support producers with the implementation of best management practices. H2Ohio provides producers cost-saving benefits, such as financial and technical assistance, to implement conservation practices that are proven to improve soil health and water quality.

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