The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has announced an additional assistance program for producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The Ohio Working Lands Small Grains Program is a voluntary program to encourage producers to plant small grains such as wheat, barley, oats, or cereal rye on eligible cropland.
As the “working lands” name implies, 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.
“We are committed to working with farmers to achieve shared goals,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “This is a program that both supports farmers and helps protect Lake Erie. Through my H2Ohio initiative, we will continue to invest in Lake Erie and in efforts to improve water quality across Ohio.”
Signed in 2018, Ohio Senate Bill 299 provided $23.5 million for soil and water conservation districts (SWCD) located in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) for nutrient management programs. ODA has already distributed $3.5 million to 24 SWCDs in Northwest Ohio and in February, ODA 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,” said Pelanda. “ODA looks forward to working with farmers to implement meaningful programs that make progress toward our common goals of soil and water conservation.”
Producers interested in the program should contact their local SWCD to to sign up.