Ohio Department of Agriculture

Reducing Agricultural Phosphorus Runoff

ODA is committed to helping farmers reduce phosphorus runoff from commercial fertilizer and manure to prevent harmful algal blooms.

AGRICULTURE FAQS
About OACI

H2Ohio: Ohio Farmers and ODA Work Together to Improve Water Quality

MAKING CHANGES TODAY TO ENSURE A SAFER TOMORROW

Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio plan will span all areas of water quality, with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) leading efforts to reduce phosphorus runoff, which is critical to improving water quality. ODA’s H2Ohio program incentivizes farmers to implement seven proven, science-based, cost-effective, best management practices (BMP). Producers work with their Soil and Water Conservation District to determine which practices will have the most effectiveness on their farm while still producing a high yield of crop. A Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan (VNMP) is required for all cropland enrolled in H2Ohio. The VNMP shows the amount of nutrients in the soil and helps determine which BMPs will be most effective.

Best Management Practices

H2Ohio Farmer Incentive Program: Farmers Answering the Call

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) portion of H2Ohio was initially made available in the 14 counites that make up the Maumee River Watershed. Producers showed remarkable interest, enrolling over 1 million acres into science-based, and cost-effective Best Management Practices (BMP) proven to improve water quality. With additional funding through the Ohio Legislature, H2Ohio expanded into 10 additional counties to encompass the entire Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB).  In January 2022, enrollment in the original 14 counties was reopened giving producers an opportunity to sign up more acres into conservation practices. Producers continue to show enormous interest and commitment to H2Ohio. Producers work with their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) who administer the program at the county level. If you have questions about applying for H2Ohio, contact your local SWCD.

By the Numbers

To date, 2,600 agreements have been signed by producers to implement these BMPs. These agreements total 1.6 million acres enrolled into VNMPs, and 1.2 million acres enrolled in BMPs, accounting for nearly 35 percent of the total cropland in the WLEB.

“Water quality is an important thing, especially within the Western Lake Erie Basin. H2Ohio is the best vehicle we’ve had to accomplish that so far.”

Kris Swartz

H2Ohio Producer, OACI Chairman

Research and Partnerships

ODA is working with the Ohio Farm Bureau (OFBF) and Blanchard River Demonstration Farms to assess the economic and agronomic impacts of H2Ohio BMPs. The goal of this work is to evaluate conservation practices that are being implemented across the WLEB and across Ohio to continually improve the data that informs farmer and policy decision making.

Practices that will be evaluated are Manure Incorporation and Timing, Subsurface Placement and Rate, Nutrient Management Planning, Cover Crops, and Variable Rate Technology.

As part of this evaluation, important agronomic information will be collected and analyzed including crop yield, crop health, soil health, soil test trends, practice profitability, and nutrient budgeting. Through this data collection, annual fact sheets will be developed to better inform producers’ decision making to incorporate BMPs on the field long term. Additionally, economic evaluation tools will be developed to assist policymakers, conservation planners and producers to determine the profitability of each BMP.

This collaboration will also provide support for ODA’s education and outreach efforts to promote conservation practices across the WLEB.

ODA is also collaborating with partners to better understand the environmental impacts of H2Ohio practices, as well as economic and agronomic impacts on producers.

ODA with Dr. Kevin King of USDA Agricultural Research Service will evaluate the impact of several H2Ohio BMPs through side-by-side comparisons and edge-of-field water quality monitoring stations that are already in place.  The goal of this research is to improve and expand data on nutrient load reductions due to adoption of conservation practices in Ohio.  ODA used an extensive process to evaluate BMPs in developing the H2Ohio program, drawing from research across the Midwest.  This partnership will supplement research data used to select the H2Ohio BMPs with research conducted in Ohio soils and under Ohio’s climate.

The work will also include the development of a model to better estimate the impact of H2Ohio practices across a regional area.  Once developed, this model will provide valuable information to guide ODA decisions for future H2Ohio programming.

What’s Happening

Latest Developments

Contact Your Soil and Water Conservation District

Auglaize County
Auglaize SWCD

110 Industrial Drive #G

Wapokoneta, OH 45895

419.738.4016

Allen County
Allen SWCD

1601 E. 4th Street, Suite B

Lima, OH 45804

419.223.0040 ext.3

Crawford County

Crawford SWCD

3111 OH-98

Bucyrus, OH 44820

419.562.8280

Defiance County
Defiance SWCD

06879 Evansport Road, Suite C

Defiance, OH 43523

419.782.1794

Erie County

Erie SWCD

2900 Columbus Avenue, Room 131

Sandusky, OH 44870

419.626.5211

 

Fulton County
Fulton SWCD

8770 State Route 108, Suite B

Wauseon, OH 43567

419.337.9217

Hancock County
Hancock SWCD

7868 County Road 140, Suite E

Findlay, OH 45840

419.422.6569

Hardin County
Hardin SWCD

12751 State Route 309 W.

Kenton, OH 43326

419.673.0456 ext. 3

Henry County

Henry SWCD

2250 N. Scott street

Napoleon, OH 43545

419.592.2926 ext. 3

Huron County

Huron SWCD

8 Fair Road

Norwalk, OH 44857

419.668.4113

Lucas County

Lucas SWCD

130 West Dudley, Suite A

Maumee, OH 43537

419.893.1966

Marion County

1100 East Center Street

Marion, OH 43302

740.387.1314

 

Mercer County
Mercer SWCD

220 W. Livingston Street, Suite 1

Celina, OH 45822

419.586.3289

Ottawa County

Ottawa SWCD

240 West Lake Street # B

Oak Harbor, OH 43449

419.898.1595

Paulding County
Paulding SWCD

900 Fairground Drive, Suite B

Paulding, OH 45879

419.399.4771

Putnam County
Putnam SWCD

1206 E. 2nd Street

Ottawa, OH 45875

419.523.5159

Richland County

Richland SWCD

1495 West Longview Ave #205

Mansfield, OH 44906

419.747.8686

Sandusky County

Sandusky SWCD

2000 Countryside Drive Suite A

Fremont, OH 43420

419.334.6324

Seneca County

Seneca SWCD

3140 OH-100

Tiffin, OH 44883

419.447.7073

Shelby County

Shelby SWCD

822 Fair Road

Sidney, OH 45365

937.492.6520

Van Wert County

Van Wert SWCD

1185 Professional Drive

Van Wert, OH 45891

419.238.9591

Williams County
Williams SWCD

1120 West High Street

Bryan, OH 43506

419.636.9395 ext. 3

Wood County
Wood SWCD

1616 E. Wooster Street, Suite 32

Bowling Green, OH 43402

419.354.5517

Wyandot County

Wyandot SWCD

97 Houpt Drive

Upper Sandusky, OH 43351

419.294.2312

Frequently Asked Questions

More information about the application process, eligibility and goals.

More About the ODA/OACI Partnership

ODA is working in close collaboration with the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) – a group of commodities, environmental agencies, and farming organizations.  OACI is an instrumental partner in the development and execution of the H2Ohio plan, which includes the Ohio Agriculture Certification Program for farmers in conjunction with the application process.
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