The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) is an unprecedented partnership between agriculture, conservation, environmental, and research communities to recognize farmers for their dedication to utilize established methods to improve water quality in Ohio and to increase the number of best management practices being implemented on farms.
OACI will offer resources and education that farmers need to implement science-based practices on their farms and better show how those efforts are improving water quality over time.
By collaboratively learning and sharing information across environmental and agricultural communities, Ohio’s water quality advocates stand as a united front dedicated to identifying solutions and helping farmers implement them.
OACI was formed to accomplish two key goals:
- Create a universally recognized farmer certification program, with a pilot program beginning in early 2020, that will help increase adoption of best management practices and recognize farmers who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement.
- Create a confidential farm practices assessment that will benchmark best management practices adoption and track progress toward our goals.
Farmer Certification Program
To enroll in the OACI Farmer Certification Program and to receive Year 1 H2Ohio funding, farmers must register and complete their profile using the link below.
OACI members have advocated together over the past five years for new legislative initiatives, including:
- Supporting creation of the H2Ohio Fund
- Addressing nutrient application and certification by:
- Placing restrictions on when fertilizer and manure can be applied in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB)
- Creating a fertilizer application training and certification program
- Certifying fertilizer applicators on farms larger than 50 acres
- Creating consistent application criteria for farmers servicing nearly 1.1 million acres in the WLEB
- Investing in innovative training and technology opportunities for farmers
- Enrolling 9,400 acres of farmland in the WLEB in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program
- Directly investing more than $6 million in agricultural nutrient management and water quality challenges
- Researching new nutrient application equipment to ensure applications of manure are in the right place at the right time
Additional Ohio Water Quality Initiatives
OACI complements the work of other important water quality initiatives in Ohio.
Ag Nutrient Alliance
The Ag Nutrient Alliance facilitates the implementation of effective agriculture best management practices through integration of current research and data, stakeholder education, identification of research gaps and recommendations for funding priorities that can measurably improve the water quality of Ohio’s lakes, rivers and streams.
OSU CFAES Water Quality Research Consortium
The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences’ Water Quality Research Consortium, which was formed specifically to address research and educational needs to support knowledge-based water quality solutions and efforts in Ohio, will drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches by connecting research across multiple disciplines, organizations and boundaries to create a holistic understanding of water quality.
4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program encourages agricultural retailers, service providers and other certified professionals to adopt proven best practices through the 4Rs, which refers to using the Right Source of Nutrients at the Right Rate and Right Time in the Right Place. This approach provides a science-based framework for plant nutrition management and sustained crop production, while considering specific individual farms’ needs.
OACI in the News
Browse below for the most recent articles on OACI:
DeWine Talks Water Quality with Ohio Farmers
WKSU, February 19, 2020
Study: Farmer participation key to reducing algae blooms
Columbus Dispatch, November 27, 2019
Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative puts H2Ohio focus on farm-specific conservation initiatives
Ohio’s Country Journal, November 18, 2019
Farmers, Enviros supporting DeWine’s water quality plan
Ohio Public Radio, November 16, 2019
OACI seeks to help farmers improve ag for Ohio waters
Farm World, September 3, 2019
Diverse stakeholder group to benchmark nutrient management efforts and create farmer certification to improve water quality
Ohio’s Country Journal, May 15, 2019
Is water quality certification next for Ohio farmers?
Farm & Dairy, May 9, 2019