Program will help all Ohioans work to improve water quality
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has introduced the Ohio Agricultural Stewardship Verification Program, a pilot certification for farmers who protect farmland and natural resources by implementing best management practices on their farms.
“ODA firmly believes science and technology must be at the forefront of all water quality issues and these new and innovative tools are impactful steps that will merge the ideas of precision farming and precision conservation,” said ODA Director David T. Daniels.
Daniels referenced the new Stewardship program as well as a new online tool for nutrient applicators and farmers called the Ohio Applicator Forecast.
The Ohio Agricultural Stewardship Verification Program will certify farmers in targeted watersheds in Henry and Wood counties who apply and meet criteria developed by ODA’s Division of Soil and Water Conservation. Criteria for the certification include developed nutrient management plans, accurate soil tests and documented best management practices, among others. The program will begin as a pilot with an intention to expand the program to all of Ohio.
“We are excited to be one of the first farms in Ohio to prove our commitment to improving water quality through this verification program,” said Tyler Drewes of Drewes Farms. “Farming as many acres as we do in the Western Lake Erie Basin region, we know we play a very important role in the long-term improvement of the lake’s water quality. We want to be part of the solution and this program will help farmers toward that goal.”
ODA will continue to reach out to farmers and applicators in the coming months to make them aware of these new and beneficial tools. Those interested in applying for the Agricultural Stewardship Verification Program can visit their local Soil and Water Conservation District office to find out how to become involved. For the Ohio Applicator Forecast, individuals can visit http://agri.ohio.gov/divs/plant/OhioApplicatorForecast/oaf.aspx