H2Ohio works to increase nutrient management planning

A recent survey of Ohio farmers shows a wide adoption of agricultural best management practices and technology in the Sandusky watershed.

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Brian Baldrige tells Brownfield, “That is the beginning process to making sure our nutrient management plan, our nutrients that we’re putting on our fields are precise.”

“That initial soil testing, and the way we grid sample and pull those soil samples, that’s the beginning,” he says.

More than 90 percent of farmers in the 2023 survey said they regularly take soil samples and 85 percent were completed with precision ag methods like grid sampling.

Nearly half of the fields in the survey were covered by a nutrient management plan and almost 60 percent of fields were enrolled in a cost-share conservation program.

Baldridge says enrollment for the H2Ohio program opened this week across the state to incentivize more voluntary nutrient management plans.

“And that gives (farmers) the opportunity to take that funding into their operation, whether that’s upgrading equipment to make them more efficient when they’re applying their fertilizers, their nutrients, they can do more precision planting, application, and so forth.”

The state will accept 500,000 new acres into the program during the sign-up that ends May 6.

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative says it plans to assess more watersheds to establish a baseline of practice adoption across the state.

AUDIO: Brian Baldrige, Ohio Department of Agriculture

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