The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is providing funding for county Farm Bureau-led projects that help improve water quality in Ohio communities. This is the fifth year Ohio Farm Bureau has provided funding, putting the total investment by OFB and partner organizations at more than $1 million in county water quality projects.
The grants are part of OFB’s comprehensive water quality action plan, which was launched in September 2014. Over the life of the plan, OFBF has invested $2.4 million in member funds for projects and measures that help protect the environment and preserve farmers’ ability to produce food.
This year, more than $90,000 in OFBF and matching funds will be put to work in local communities.
“These projects are spread out across the state, with participation from dozens of partnering organizations that include conservation, government, university, health and private entities,” says Jordan Hoewischer, OFBF director of water quality and research.
County Farm Bureaus receiving funding and their projects include:
Ashland County. Adapt-N and Field Forecasting Tool crop modeling systems will be implemented to improve nutrient efficiency and reduce nutrient loss from farm fields in the Jerome Fork of the Mohican River. These modeling systems will help farmers better manage nitrogen based on farm management practices, soil tests, cover crops, manure applications and long-term weather forecasts.
Athens and Meigs counties. To focus on the statewide importance of water quality, this project will offer a no-till drill to all farmers in Athens and surrounding counties. Through the efforts of this partnership, use of this drill will decrease soil erosion and help reduce nutrient runoff into waterways, improving water quality in the region.
Butler County. A bus tour will be organized to allow Butler County landowners, farmers, officials and community members to visit the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms in northwest Ohio.
Clark County. This project will invite members to join a Blanchard River Demonstration Farms tour and get up-close experience with three local farms and farmers involved with implementing new and established conservation practices in the Blanchard River Watershed.
Clinton and Fayette counties. The two counties will prepare class members of AgriPower, a leadership program, to become spokespeople on water quality, with an emphasis on agricultural nutrient management and harmful algal blooms. The class will spend the day at Ohio State University’s Stone Lab, learning more about water quality and nutrient management.
Cuyahoga County. Two-day workshops will have middle school and high school science teachers taking part in workshops to explore soil and water — life’s main ingredients. This includes a water treatment facility tour, an introduction to the 4Rs (the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, with the right placement), and an industry panel discussion.
Hocking and Fairfield counties. The grant will facilitate a visit and tour of the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms. Guest speakers from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and soil and water conservation districts will share information and local resources to help farmers conserve, protect and enhance soil, water and land on the bus ride to and from the farm tour.
Knox County. Funds will be used to update the Ohio nutrient management record keeper (OnMrk) app to reflect the needs of farmers in Ohio and across the country, and to ensure they have the information they need to comply with state and federal water quality laws.
Portage County. A calendar will be created to give residents key messages that will help create environmental awareness and practical skills, encouraging healthy property habits. The calendars will have tools and sources, including information on rain gardens, rain barrels, how to check vehicles for leaks and spills, and how to choose environmentally friendly household products, to name a few.
Preble County. The county will host a two-hour evening workshop for rural residents who are seeking to renovate or replace a malfunctioning septic system or construct a new system as part of building a new home. Emphasis will be placed on proper maintenance and upkeep of septic systems to ensure they perform as designed.
Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities. Learn more at ofbf.org.