Blanchard River project extended

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Buffer strip
A buffer strip near a stream.

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service have signed a new, five-year agreement to continue research for the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network project.

The ongoing efforts of the two organizations will study ideas that emphasize protecting Ohio’s water resources and soil health through innovative agricultural practices.

After the establishment of the project in 2015, three demonstration farms were created as models for new innovations that reduce and prevent agricultural nutrient runoff and have shared those discoveries with local farmers, land management agencies and the public.

The demonstration farms are a key component of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Water Quality Action Plan, a comprehensive initiative to help farmers proactively improve and protect water quality.

Over the next five years, the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms project will continue research in the areas of edge of field monitoring, drainage water management, cover crops and economic analysis and will begin new research on precision agriculture, subsurface nutrient placement, application timing and strip tillage.

In addition to increasing farmer engagement and adoption of practices being used on the demo farms, other objectives for the program will be to evaluate new and existing on-farm conservation practices for feasibility, practicality and outcomes at the farm level; develop economic analysis for all practices to determine cost-saving opportunities; and measure which practices are most cost-effective while reducing nutrient loss.

The service will continue to provide eligible farm operators with financial assistance through conservation program contracts for conservation system implementation and will provide technical guidance to the advisory committee. It also will continue to provide conservation experts to speak during field days and other outreach events.

To learn more about the network, visit blancharddemofarms.org. To learn more about the farm bureau, visit ofbf.org.

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