H2Ohio farmer informational meetings set to begin


Staff report



REYNOLDSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is hosting a series of virtual informational meetings for farmers to learn about Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative in the newly added 10 counties.

The program, which incentivizes farmers for implementing proven conservation practices to reduce phosphorus runoff, is now open to farmers in Seneca, Huron, Erie, Wyandot, Richland, Shelby, Sandusky, Marion, Ottawa, and Crawford counties. Phosphorus runoff is a primary contributing factor to algal blooms on Lake Erie.

Virtual meetings will be held later this month for farmers in the newly eligible counties to provide more information on H2Ohio’s conservation programs:

•July 20, 6:00 p.m.

•July 22, 9:00 a.m.

•July 28, 6:00 p.m.

•July 29, 1:00 p.m.

The meetings will be held via Microsoft Teams. More information about the meetings, including links to join, can be found at h2.ohio.gov.

In the first year of the H2Ohio Program, 1,800 farmers enrolled more than 1 million acres of cropland in the targeted 14 counties: Williams, Fulton, Lucas, Defiance, Henry, Wood, Paulding, Putnam, Hancock, Van Wert, Allen, Hardin, Mercer, and Auglaize. With the recent expansion, all 24 counties in the Western Lake Erie Basin are now included in the H2Ohio Program.

Governor DeWine launched H2Ohio in November 2019 as a long-term, data-driven water quality plan to reduce harmful algal blooms, improve wastewater infrastructure, and address lead contamination in Ohio. The initiative is a collaboration involving ODA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Lake Erie Commission and other environmental, agricultural and educational partners. It is the first comprehensive state program that addresses all aspects of water quality.

Staff report