Grants Available to Help Farmers with Runoff

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Crop land

OWENSVILLE, Ohio – Farmers with fields in the East Fork Lake watershed may now sign up for a second round of funding to set up conservation practices that help keep sediments and nutrients on farm fields and out of the lake. Since 2012, East Fork Lake has experienced worsening problems with harmful algal blooms thought to be caused by excess nutrients – mainly nitrogen and phosphorus – that come from agricultural fields as well as failing septic systems, wastewater treatment plants and urban runoff.

In January 2015, the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) was awarded a five-year, $600,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Resource Conservation Partnership Program to help reduce nutrient loadings through agricultural conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips, nutrient management and more.

“Farmers expressed a tremendous amount of interest during our first round of sign-ups last year.  I think this reflects their dedication to protecting our natural resources and improving conditions in East Fork Lake,” said John McManus, Administrator for Clermont SWCD. “I expect that we will again receive a large number of applications for this program.”

Lori Lenhart, District Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, said, “Under this grant, farmers can sign up for more traditional conservation practices, such as cover crops and nutrient management, as well as newer practices like edge of field monitoring and gypsum application.  Gypsum helps aggregate the soil, which allows rainwater to move into the soil better. This in turn helps reduce erosion and the runoff of sediments and phosphorus. The calcium in gypsum also binds strongly with phosphorus, reducing chances of runoff and increasing uptake by the growing crop.”

Any farmer within the East Fork Lake watershed who is interested in participating in this program should contact the appropriate person for their county.  The deadline to submit an application for funding is Friday, Feb. 19. (Click here to download an application form)

In Brown and Clermont Counties, contact Lori Lenhart at (513) 732-2181, ext. 102 or lori.lenhart@oh.usda.gov.

In Clinton County, contact Josh Wilt at (937) 382-2461 or josh.wilt@oh.usda.gov.

In Highland County, contact Kyle Wheeler at (937) 393-1922 or kyle.wheeler@oh.usda.gov. 

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