Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), in partnership with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts like Lucas SWCD, is encouraging farmers in the Maumee River watershed to enroll, or reenroll, in the H2Ohio Phosphorus Reduction Program now through December 31, 2023.
Through ODA's No Farmer Left Behind initiative, staff either mailed a postcard or made a phone call with the goal of reaching every farmer in the 14 counties within the Maumee River watershed who are eligible for H2Ohio to inform them of the program.
On November 8th, ODA Director Brian Baldridge traveled north from Reynoldsburg and spent the day in Lucas County. He called local farmers and spoke to them personally about the significance of the H2Ohio program and why it is so important to participate and ultimately, contribute to the collective effort to improve water quality in our great Lake.
Director Baldridge also met with area politicians and representatives at the Lucas SWCD office and visited a farm to see first-hand some of the best management practices (BMPs) that are incentivized through the H2Ohio program. Lastly, as another tool to reach farmers, Director Baldridge and SWCD staff filled H2Ohio goody bags for local farmers to show them our appreciation during harvest time and to let them know about the program.
“It is as important as ever that Ohio’s agricultural community steps up to the plate to do the right thing....We know 2,400 farmers are engaged in H2Ohio, but it takes all of us working together to improve Ohio’s water for generations to come.”
Through this collaborative outreach effort, we asked high school students from the Anthony Wayne Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter to help deliver the goody bags to local farmers and they took some great pictures to capture those moments!
To enroll in H2Ohio, producers must first work with the SWCD to get registered into the 'MyFarms' platform, which will facilitate the administration of the H2Ohio program. Once registered and the basic field information is uploaded, farmers will work with the SWCD or a consultant to develop an approved Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan (VNMP) in order to qualify for other BMPs being offered in 2024 and 2025. Available BMPs include overwintering covers (such as wheat, hay, or cover crops), subsurface phosphorus placement, and manure incorporation and utilization.
Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts work directly with each producer to review and approve VNMPs, assess the compatibility of implementing additional BMPs, and provide conservation education.
If interested in learning more about H2Ohio and the current enrollment process, contact Matthew Browne, Lucas SWCD's H2Ohio Technician, at (419) 377-0901 or MBrowne@co.lucas.oh.us. You can also learn more about the program by reading the flier linked below or visiting our website's H2Ohio page.
Thank you to Director Baldridge and his team for spending the day with us earlier this month and for speaking to our guests at our 59th Annual Meeting!
Thank you to the Anthony Wayne FFA!
Lucas SWCD staff