By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is currently accepting new enrollments for the H2Ohio Program.

Producers in the original 14-county targeted area of the Maumee River Watershed can sign up for the years 2022 and 2023. That area includes: Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert, Mercer, Fulton, Henry, Putnam, Allen, Auglaize, Lucas, Wood, Hancock and Hardin counties.

Farmers are required to submit a Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan (VNMP) at the time of application. Enrollment is open until Jan. 15, 2022, and no practices can be started prior to March 15, 2022.

The additional enrollment is open to farmers in those 14 counties who are not currently enrolled in the H2Ohio program. It is also open to farmers that are currently enrolled from the original H2Ohio sign-up that may have additional acres not previously enrolled or that have obtained new acres which they farm and wish to enroll.

Unlike the original H2Ohio sign-up, in order to enroll at this time, a VNMP must be approved prior to signing the contract.

Under Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio plan, ODA is leading efforts to reduce phosphorus runoff. Producers are being incentivized to implement proven, cost-effective best management practices.

“This program has brought farmers, Ag retailers and SWCD staff closer together and improved communications,” said Bob George, District Administrator for Henry County SWCD. “It has also helped educate many farmers about what their soil test levels are and why the retailer is making the recommendations for the respective crop rotations.”

To enroll, contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District for more information.

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