CFAES adds ‘boots on the ground’ for farmers in western Lake Erie basin

There’s new help for farmers in northwest Ohio for managing nutrients and water quality. Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the CFAES Water Quality Initiative has hired six Extension associates to work in the western Lake Erie basin.

6 on your side

The new associates, each serving three to five counties in northwest Ohio, will share information about best nutrient management practices, will help farmers implement the practices, and will help do on-farm research to measure the practices’ effectiveness, costs, and benefits. Half the funding for their salaries comes from NRCS.

Sam Custer, OSU Extension interim assistant director for agriculture and natural resources, said the six will give CFAES and local farmers additional “boots on the ground” in the basin. They’ll serve as a new resource for implementing “environmentally sustainable, economically viable” practices that benefit water quality, he said.

Vast harmful algal blooms have plagued the western part of Lake Erie in recent years. Phosphorus runoff from farms in the region is the primary driver of the blooms, and efforts continue to implement practices that reduce that runoff but keep farms productive.

The six new associates are Jordan Beck (serving Fulton, Williams, and Lucas counties), Rachel Cochran (Paulding, Defiance, and Van Wert counties), Nick Eckel (Henry, Ottawa, and Wood counties), Boden Fisher (Putnam, Hancock, and Hardin counties), Brigitte Moneymaker (Auglaize, Allen and Mercer counties), and Matthew Romanko (Sandusky, Seneca, Erie, Crawford, and Wyandot counties).

Learn more about the CFAES Water Quality Initiative.

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