Aaron Heilers is the Project Manager for the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network

U.S. EPA administrator visits Ohio demonstration farms

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently visited the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms in northwest Ohio. Administrator Wheeler learned about all of the testing being done to improve water quality for the Western Lake Erie Basin and all of Ohio.

“It’s impressive to see how farmers are taking a proactive approach to try to reduce nutrient runoff,” Wheeler said. “Our agency is working cooperatively with farmers instead of hitting them with a hammer, and I think that farmers have proven that they know their land and they know what it takes to reduce phosphorus loading. These demonstration farms have shown me how they can save money on nutrients with new technologies while, at the same time, producing greater yields.”

The first stop for Wheeler was Kurt Farms in Dunkirk, Ohio. There, he learned about how edge-of-field testing units sample the water coming from farm fields to determine the volume of nutrients coming off of the farm and how different nutrient management practices impact the data.

Then, Wheeler traveled to Forest to find out how larger-scale farmers Bill and Shane Kellogg are investing in new technologies and implements that allow them to only apply the nutrients needed with variable-rate equipment after reviewing analysis from soil samples taken from the farm.

“The Blanchard River Demonstration Farms are a great example of just how committed Ohio agriculture is to finding the best management practices for clean water,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “The EPA is an important partner for continual water quality research, so we appreciate Administrator Wheeler coming to learn about the many different nutrient management approaches our demonstration farmers are taking and to discuss how efforts should move forward to protect natural resources across the state.”

The Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network is a joint partnership between U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Services and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. The project is part of a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative designed to showcase and demonstrate leading edge conservation practices to improve Great Lakes water quality. Learn more at blancharddemofarms.org.

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