March 3, 2021
Initial payments are going out to farmers enrolled in Gov. Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative for improved water quality. The first incentive payments will be distributed to 154 farmers for completed and approved Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans.
Through the H2Ohio program, farmers are incentivized for implementing proven conservation practices to help reduce phosphorus runoff. A completed and approved VNMP is one of the seven identified practices and is required for all farmers enrolled in the program.
Local soil and water conservation district boards must review and approve VNMPs before incentive payments are distributed. Of the 14 counties involved in H2Ohio, the Putnam, Hancock and Auglaize SWCD boards have approved 154 VNMPs, which include 98,000 acres, totaling about $197,000 in payments.
Remaining SWCD boards will continue to meet throughout the spring to approve VNMPs and allocate payments.
Improving water quality
“The Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans are an important component of our H2Ohio initiative because they lay the groundwork to begin to reverse the serious water quality issues in Lake Erie,” DeWine says. “It is great to see farmers’ commitment and enthusiasm about reducing phosphorus runoff into Ohio’s waterways through this science-based approach.”
“The agriculture industry wants to do its part toward Gov. DeWine’s H2Ohio water quality efforts, demonstrated by the large number of farmers and the volume of acreage enrolled in these proven conservation programs,” Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda says. “These first payments to farmers are showing the progress of this important initiative, as ODA continues its daily work with local SWCDs to keep these efforts moving forward swiftly.”
VNMPs are a cornerstone agronomic tool that provide a base on which other best management practices are built. An approved VNMP uses soil tests based on realistic crop yields to determine if additional nutrients are needed. Using nutrient management plans allows producers to implement conservation practices that best fit their cropland.
In 2020, 1,750 farmers enrolled more than 1,080,000 acres of cropland in VNMPs in the targeted 14 counties within the Western Lake Erie Basin in the H2Ohio program.
Gov. DeWine launched H2Ohio in November 2019 as a long-term, data-driven water quality plan to reduce harmful algal blooms, improve wastewater infrastructure and address lead contamination in Ohio.
The initiative is a collaboration involving ODA, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Lake Erie Commission and other environmental, agricultural and educational partners. It is the first comprehensive state program that addresses all aspects of water quality.
Source: ODA, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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