COLUMBUS— State Representative Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) today announced that growers of small grains in the Lake Erie Western Basin will be the target of a new state assistance program by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg).
The Ohio Working Lands Small Grains Program is a voluntary program that will encourage producers in the region to plant small grains such as wheat, barley, oats, or cereal rye on eligible cropland. Participants must plant and harvest small grains, land-apply manure and plant a cover crop to receive a cost-share payment to help offset operating costs. The program benefits the planting of small grains not only for the conservation benefits, but to provide livestock producers with a longer application window to land-apply manure and nutrients.
“Governor DeWine is committed to working with farmers to achieve shared goals,” said Representative Hoops. “This is a program that both supports farmers and helps protect Lake Erie. Through the Governor’s H2Ohio initiative, we will continue to invest in Lake Erie and in efforts to improve water quality across Ohio.”
Signed in 2018, Senate Bill 299 provided $23.5 million for Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) located in the Lake Erie Western Basin for nutrient management programs. ODAg has already distributed $3.5 million to 24 SWCDs in Northwest Ohio, and in February ODAg Director Dorothy Pelanda announced plans for three new assistance programs for the remaining $20 million -- the Ohio Working Lands Program, the Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan Development Program and the Cost Share and Equipment Buy Down Program.
“We are very excited to roll out the Small Grains Program as we have already seen great interest from producers for our other assistance programs in the Western Lake Erie Basin,” ODAg Director Dorothy Pelanda said. “ODAg looks forward to working with farmers to implement meaningful programs that make progress toward our common goals of soil and water conservation.”
The Ohio Working Lands Small Grains Program will fall under the umbrella of the Ohio Working Lands Program. Local SWCDs will manage program sign-up, verification of eligibility and crop establishment. Soil tests and records of manure analysis and application will be required to be submitted to the SWCD as well. Producers interested in the program should contact their local SWCD.
“We appreciate Gov. DeWine and Director Pelanda recognizing that assistance is needed to solve important issues facing Ohio’s waters,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “We encourage all growers of small grains in Northwest Ohio to consider being part of this important program. Farmers look forward to continuing our efforts to protect water quality in Ohio.”
Local SWCDs in the Lake Erie Western Basin are still accepting sign-ups for the Ohio Working Lands Hay Buffer Program, which semi-retires environmentally sensitive areas of a field from annual crop acres to permanent harvestable forage acres. The sign-up deadline for the program is Wednesday, May 1st.