For the third year in a row, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is funding county Farm Bureau-led projects that help improve water quality in local communities. This round of funding will put total investment by Ohio Farm Bureau and partner organizations at more than $1 million in county water quality projects.
“What an incredible effort by our members and partners in reaching the $1 million mark. These projects over the past couple of years have helped improve water quality in communities across the state with the help of more than two dozen county Farm Bureaus and more than 110 partner groups,” said Jordan Hoewischer, OFBF director of water quality and research.
This year, more than $154,000 in OFBF and matching funds will be put to work in local communities.
The county water quality grants are part of Ohio Farm Bureau’s comprehensive Water Quality Action Plan launched in September 2014. OFBF has invested $2.3 million in member funds for projects and measures that help protect the environment and preserve farmers’ ability to produce food. The complete story on Farm Bureau water quality initiatives is at farmersforwater.org.
County Farm Bureaus receiving funding and their projects include the following.
Crawford County: A water quality learning area will be created to educate farmers, school groups, elected officials and the general public about the positive measures farmers are taking to improve water quality by minimizing nutrient runoff. The area will be next to cropland and consist of a 1-acre surface-fed pond with a drainage ditch and small creek feeding into it.
Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties: The four county Farm Bureaus will partner with Farm Bureau counties in Michigan to buy radio and television advertising that promote the different measures agriculture is using to protect Lake Erie.
Fulton County: County Farm Bureau members will visit Ohio State University’s water research center, Stone Lab, on Lake Erie as well as the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms to learn about water quality efforts.
Logan County: Water testing from subsurface tile and from surface waterways will be done at county farms that have a permanent agricultural easement to demonstrate how they are good stewards of the land. Also planned is a presentation by two national experts on soil health and cover crops.
Lucas and Ottawa counties: Two tours of the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms will be offered to showcase conservation practices and research being done on the three farms. The first tour is for county Farm Bureau members, public officials and legislators. The second is for county FFA chapters, and students will have the opportunity to prepare for their FFA soil judging contests.
Mahoning County: This project will provide education to agricultural and residential landowners on proper soil testing and nutrient management.
Mercer County: Two different methods will be used to research the differences in soil health between a long-term no-till system and a minimum tillage system. Data will be collected for 16 months and followed up by community outreach.
Muskingum County: In support of a two-year project to gather nutrient data, a video will be produced and informational meeting held to share with local farmers the results of the study. The research tracked soil test levels and tissue levels of crops throughout the season along with water samples from tile outlets. The project findings will help farmers when making nutrient management decisions.
Putnam County: An agricultural tour will showcase what farmers and the county are doing in regards to water quality. Stops include the Ottawa Wastewater Treatment Plant, a newly constructed swine nursery operation, a dairy farm, a hydroponic farm and a vineyard.
Seneca County: Infield data collection equipment will be provided along with manure nutrient sampling and consultation. Quarterly scientific nutrient management newsletters will be sent to farmers. Educational efforts will be supplemented by personal contacts. The county will host multi-county educational tours to share information.
Tuscarawas County: Members of OFBF’s Young Agricultural Professionals will be invited to canoe the Tuscarawas River to see the region’s natural assets and learn about the different tributaries and riparian areas and how they relate to water quality.
Wayne County: Dairy manure application plots will be set up and yield data collected to determine the effectiveness and best time to do side-dress application of manure, which is done after crops have started growing.