SENECA COUNTY, Ohio — Ten more counties have been added to the H2Ohio farmer incentive program in the new state budget.
The H2Ohio Incentive Program is designed to help farmers reduce their nutrient runoff and in turn keep Lake Erie and other waterways healthy.
The program continues to grow.
Last year, only farmers operating within the Maumee River watershed were eligible to receive state funding to reduce their nutrient runoff.
But now, the Sandusky River watershed has also been added, bringing the total up to 24 counties in the program.
To begin the process, farmers simply need to visit their local county soil and water office.
"I like to call that the 'golden ticket', said Beth Diesch with the Seneca Conservancy District. "Once you have that golden ticket and you work on that through the winter, then next year we sit down and plan the other steps for your farm with that ticket. We do the other practices and stack those on top of your acreage."
The state financial assistance helps farmers install nutrient runoff limiters, plant cover crops during non-growing seasons, and will help purchase new equipment that distributes fertilizer beneath the surface instead of on top.
Beth says in Seneca County, they will be asking their farmers to go above and beyond the recommended practices to make sure they are offsetting any damaging practices of the past.
"People that went to school 30 years ago trying to manage nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium were taught different things. They learned different things, they knew different things. So, we just need to do something different in the future than what we've been doing in the past," said Beth.
Newly eligible farmers can start signing up on July 15, with the end of registration on August 31.
The new counties include: Seneca, Huron, Erie, Wyandot, Ottawa, Crawford, Marion, Richland, Sandusky, and Shelby.