Eastern Ohio seeding program offered

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Rapid erosion
(Submitted photo) Rapid erosion characterized by steep, collapsing streambanks is difficult to control. The best way to prevent it? Let native hardwood trees or shrubs remain or become re-established on the streambanks.

Do you have areas in your field(s) that have eroded due to the excess rainfall in 2018 and early 2019? Could you stabilize some of these areas by planting vegetation without installing a full grassed waterway?

If your land area drains to the Muskingum River (which is most of eastern Ohio), you may be interested in the Critical Area Seeding program.

This program would provide a financial incentive to producers to seed high-risk erosion areas to permanent vegetation.

The area’s being targeted are the concentrated flow paths through corn and soybean fields where a grass waterway is not practical, usually due to small drainage areas or small field sizes.

Producers are generally reluctant to set aside land because of the potential for financial loss from reduced yields if these areas are not farmed.

Qualifications

This program is open to all Muskingum watershed producers, but ranking will prioritize producers farming in the watersheds of Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District Lakes.

To qualify you must meet the following criteria:

  • The critical area must be located in the Muskingum Watershed and currently farmed as part of a crop rotation that includes soybeans and/or corn silage,
  • The critical area seeding must have a minimum width of whichever is greater: 20 feet or the width necessary to treat the critical area,
  • The critical area must be kept undisturbed for at least three years after the date of planting,
  • SWCD office must be notified within five days of critical area seeding completion,
  • Plantings must follow USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) standards such as seeding rates, dates and approved methods to be eligible for this program,
  • Plantings must be successfully established before cost share funds are paid,
  • Cost share rate is $500 per acre, not to exceed 1 acre per participant,
  • Cost share will not exceed actual receipts for the seeding.

This special program will require landowners to maintain the installed critical area for at least three years from the time of planting.

Goals

By requiring this baseline, it ensures that producers will have the opportunity to observe the benefits over a number of years, rather than quickly converting the ground back into crops.

The goal of the program is for producers to maintain these area long term by seeing the benefits over a number of years with varying yearly weather patterns and diverse conditions.

If this program sounds like something that could work on your farm, call your local soil and water conservation district for further details.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts will coordinate this program with assistance from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and funding provided by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.

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Raised on a grain farm in Morrow County, Deb Bigelow is the program administrator for the Coshocton Soil and Water Conservation District. She can be reached at debbigelow@coshoctoncounty.net.

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