* Updated July 13
COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda announced July 6 that H2Ohio’s farmer incentive program is expanding into 10 additional counties in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
The program, which offers funding to farmers who implement proven conservation practices that limit agricultural phosphorus runoff from fertilizer, is now open to farmers in Seneca, Huron, Erie, Wyandot, Richland, Shelby, Sandusky, Marion, Ottawa and Crawford counties, bringing the total number of counties eligible for the program to 24.
Phosphorus runoff is the primary factor behind algal blooms on Lake Erie.
Ohio’s new bipartisan operating budget, recently passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by DeWine, provides $120 million over the next two years to continue and expand funding to farmers who work to reduce phosphorus runoff.
Farmers in the original 14 participating counties, including Williams, Fulton, Lucas, Defiance, Henry, Wood, Paulding, Putnam, Hancock, Van Wert, Allen, Hardin, Mercer and Auglaize, will continue receiving incentives during the program’s second year and have already enrolled more than one million acres of cropland in the program.
There will be virtual meetings later in July for farmers in the newly eligible counties to learn more about H2Ohio’s conservation programs. The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative announced July 13 that these meetings will be July 20, 6 p.m.; July 22, 9 a.m.; July 28, 6 p.m.; and July 29, 1 p.m. Full details and access to links are available at h2.ohio.gov.
* Updated to add information about the dates and times of the virtual meetings.
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