Enrollment open for a pilot program to compensate farmers up to $40 per acre for carbon sequestration and water quality

Ten thousand acres in the Upper Scioto River watershed are eligible for a pilot carbon credit and water quality payment program launched by the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund in conjunction with the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean Council, Nutrien Ag Solutions, and the American Farmland Trust.  Enrollment is now open.

By implementing new practices such as strip-till or no-till, introducing cover crops, or adjusting nitrogen fertilizer rates, farmers in 20 eligible Ohio counties can earn annual payments of up to $40 per acre.  

“The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund is not prescriptive about the conservation changes chosen,” said Joe Winchell, the program’s conservation agronomist who is dedicated to assisting farmers with enrollment. “Farmers are welcome to add or expand the conservation practices that work best for their operation.”

Under the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, farmers are paid based on the volume of environmental outcomes generated by newly implemented conservation practices. These outcomes include nitrogen and phosphorus prevented from entering waterways and soil carbon sequestration.

“Growers have a lot of questions about emerging carbon markets and how they can maximize their opportunities,” said Ben Klick, Navarre, Ohio farmer and vice president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “As our organization has looked into projects across the state, the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund stood out because of their focus on water quality and nutrient management.” 

 The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund currently operates in Ohio, Illinois and Iowa. More information on enrollment requirements and process are available online at theoutcomesfund.com 

“I encourage Ohio’s soybean producers in eligible counties to learn more about the financial and environmental benefits available from the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund. They can continue to benefit from implementing practices on their farms to make their land even stronger and healthier for the next generation,” added Kirk Merritt, Ohio Soybean Council Chief Executive Officer.  

Eligible acres include portions of Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Crawford, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hardin, Knox, Licking, Logan, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway, Richland, Union and Wyandot counties. 

“Ohio’s grain producers have been on the front line of stewardship and sustainability for years,” said Kelly Harsh, Delaware, Ohio farmer and president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “Our organization is always on the lookout for new, innovative approaches to help our growers maximize their profitability as they adopt new technologies and practices. The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund fits squarely in that mission.” 

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