9711 East Pike
Cambridge, OH 43725

Our Mission

Promote through education and technical assistance, the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This is how SWCD employees feel about our careers, too

The Greatest Good
Written by Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S.D.A. Forest Service
I was asked recently what the Forest Service mission meant to me. There are three words that always come to mind any time I think about what we do … the greatest good.

Founder of the Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot said that where conflicting interests must be reconciled, the question shall always be answered from the standpoint of the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run.

Our mission is varied and complex, but the concept of doing our best for the largest amount of people is much simpler. We will always strive to do the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.

This month we put an emphasis on conserving open space.  Open space provides vital ecosystem services and benefits to this nation. But every day we lose more and more of our forests, grasslands, wetlands and urban greenspaces. This affects everything from the ability to deliver clean air and water to outdoor recreation.

The way we will continue to conserve open space is by: 1) Protecting the most ecologically and socially important lands; 2) Conserving working lands as sustainable forests and grasslands; 3) Expanding and connecting open spaces in cities, suburbs, and towns; and 4) Reducing the potential ecological impacts and risks of development.

But none of this would be possible without the dedicated men and women working everyday across the Forest Service.

I started working for the forest service 38 years ago because I had a desire to be a part of conservation efforts for our nation’s forests and because I grew up loving the outdoors. I had an opportunity to work where I play – to have a career doing what I love. Over nearly four decades, I have seen the Forest Service mission in action – at the forest-level, at the district, and now as the chief. Throughout that time I have continuously seen dedicated people working to conserve open space. I have met countless individuals who love their jobs and who are passionate about sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands.

It is through their work that we can continue to achieve our mission. It is through their work that we can continue to do the greatest good. We are responsible for 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. From rangers at the forests to the brave men and women fighting wildfires when called upon to the individuals doing ground-breaking work at our research stations and those performing vital business operations – every one of these individuals is working in a concerted effort to sustain that land, to live our mission, and to do the greatest good.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Feral Hog Program

Dover, Ohio - At the April 1 7:00 PM meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA), Craig Hicks, a Wildlife Disease Biologist/Ohio Feral Swine Coordinator for USDA Wildlife Services will be speaking on Feral Swine.  They arrived primarily through domestic escape , escapes from hunting preserves and intentional release which is illegal.
ECOFA is an organization of persons interested in improving their woodlands and in forestry-related topics.  The public is cordially invited to attend the free meetings which are held monthly at the Dover Library, 525 North Walnut St. Dover, Ohio

Friday, March 27, 2015

Rural Action invites community to watershed planning meetings

Rural Action invites community to watershed planning meetings

The Plains, Ohio - Rural Action, a community based organization, is working to better understand community water resource needs as part of a regional watershed planning initiative. A watershed is an area of land in which all the water drains to the same low point. Everyone lives in a watershed. The major watersheds in Ohio are the Lake Erie Watershed and Ohio River Watershed. Rural Action's work is focused on communities within the Ohio River system.

Community members are invited to participate in the planning process by sharing water interests, needs, and concerns in their communities. Meetings will begin with an overview of the planning process and conclude with a question and answer session with watershed professionals. All participants will have the chance to submit comments and refreshments will be served.

All interested community members, local government officials, and representatives from soil and water districts are encouraged to attend. Meetings will be held at many locations across the Ohio River Watershed. Locally, a meeting will be held on April 13th at 6 pm at the Cambridge Crossroads Library at 63500 Byesville Rd, Cambridge, OH 43725

Rural Action is a membership based organization working to build sustainable local economies in Appalachian Ohio. Rural Action has been involved in watershed restoration work since 1994, historically in the Monday Creek, Sunday Creek, Federal Creek, Huff Run and Mud Run watersheds. For more information about Rural Action's work, visit www.ruralaction.org. For more information about the regional meetings and planning process, contact Michelle Shively at (740) 767-2225 or michelle@sundaycreek.org.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Unanimous House, Senate Send Manure Bill To Governor's Desk

The House and Senate on Wednesday finished up work on the legislature's most significant proposal to date aimed at starving off toxic algae that has increasingly plagued Lake Erie in recent years.  The bill (SB 1*) cleared the lower chamber without opposition before the Senate unanimously concurred with the House's revisions, forwarding the measure on to Gov. John Kasich to sign into law.

Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer said the legislation includes many of the administration's proposals aimed at protecting the Lake Erie watershed.  "Now that Ohio has put into place new regulations and training on the proper application of nutrients to reduce runoff, these latest reforms will help us strengthen our efforts to protect water quality by keeping fertilizers and manure off snow, frozen and saturated ground, working with farmers who need assistance, and giving us the ability to get bad actors into compliance. Ohio's fight against algae isn't over, but these reforms will certainly help," he said in a statement.

A central feature of the bill - and the one that provoked lengthy deliberations between the House, Senate, administration and agricultural groups - is a proposal to regulate the application of livestock manure on farm fields.  The bill passed the House without opposition and after minimal debate.

Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Brian Hill (R-Zanesville-represents Guernsey County) pointed to a broad base of support that includes the major industry groups as well as environmental interests.  The farming groups' sign-off show that agriculture "wants to be part of the solution" to the algae problem the bill addresses in several ways, such as manure regulations, future dredging limits and a three-year review of its effectiveness, he said.  Mr. Hill lauded the extensive negotiations over matters such as farmers' compliance that resulted in a solid compromise package.

Rep. Jim Buchy (R-Greenville), sponsor of the House companion measure called the measure a first "right step to reduce the impact of nutrient loading" that is occurring in Lake Erie, mainly through phosphorus flowing from the Detroit and Maumee rivers.  "This is a frontal assault from all of us," he said, referring to U.S. farmers as the top environmental stewards in the world because they understand the importance of soil, water than air to their livelihoods.

Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) also called the bill a reasonable compromise, recalling some "agonizing moments" over enforcement and other details.  "To think that the Ohio Environmental Council and the Ohio Republican Party are on the same page is remarkable," he said.
Prior to the Senate's concurrence vote, joint sponsor Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) said the House's revisions produced "a stronger, more meaningful bill."

Earlier in the day, House and Senate leaders held a news conference to publicize the bill and applaud each other's hard work on reaching what Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) said was one of the most difficult issues the legislature has tackled in years.  "The benefits of having a clean Lake Erie are certainly worth the fight and something we will continue to push forward on," he said, alluding to a message that was repeated throughout the event - that more measure is only one step in the legislature's effort to address the toxic algae problem.

Sen. Faber also said the agriculture community is doing its part and now other industries need to contribute to the solution.  "As somebody who represents the largest agricultural district in the state, we continue to be very concerned to make sure that agriculture is viable, but viability should not be confused with a lack of environmental stewardship. And excessive use of chemical fertilizers or organic fertilizers is unacceptable. And this bill will make meaningful changes into that process," he said.  While restrictions on spreading livestock manure have gotten the most attention, Sen. Gardner said agricultural regulations comprise only two out of six major components of the bill.

In addition to the ban on applying fertilizer and manure to frozen and saturated soil, the revised bill includes a provision that would crack down on the "so-called manure loophole," he said, pointing to an amendment that would require anyone spreading waste transferred from a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) to follow the same regulations.

Sen. Gardner said the four other non-agricultural parts of the legislation would:

  • Restrict the disposal of dredging material in open Lake Erie by 2020.
  • Require wastewater treatment plants to monitor phosphorus discharge.
  • Create a new coordinator of harmful algal bloom management and response position to help organize local response efforts.
  • Update the Healthy Lake Erie Fund to advance soil testing, tributary testing, animal waste abatement initiatives and other conservation measures for farmers.

Primary co-sponsor Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) said the final version emerged from the House with the most stringent combination of regulations to combat toxic algae.  "This is the toughest version of any of the bills we've seen," he said.

Nonetheless, lawmakers say it's impossible to know how much of an impact the bill will actually have on Ohio's toxic algal blooms.  Sen. Gardner said there were too many variables, like the weather in future years, to be able to quantify how much the proposal will reduce phosphorus runoff flowing into Lake Erie.  "I know people are looking for precise answers as to what exactly will happen with this legislation. We know it's another step in the right direction, we know its meaningful, but until you tell me what the temperatures are, what the wind direction is, what the rainfall events are, it's just impossible to know what kind of impact this might have on the lake," he said.

Sen. Faber called the bill a "major component" in addressing the issue.  "But in the end, its a multifaceted problem, and until we can get our friends in Indiana and Michigan and Canada to also address this is some of the same ways, we're going to continue to have issues," he said.
Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) noted that the Kasich administration is already discussing a broader algae-fighting approach with leaders in other states.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Prepare to do More for Water Quality

A heavy fog blanketed much of Ohio one early March morning as the long winter freeze was just starting to give way to the warmer temperatures of the coming spring. A thin top layer of the soil had thawed, but a deep freeze remained below. This, combined with persistent rains and a significant snowmelt, set the stage for nutrient and sediment loss from farm fields.

Read rest of article HERE

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Forest Farming Ramps

by Kate MacFarland, National Agroforestry Center, U.S. Forest Service
Ramps, these tasty spring ephemerals with the scientific name Allium tricoccum, are generally called ramps in the south and wild leeks in more northern areas. They are native to the hardwood forests of eastern North America.

In many areas, ramps are viewed as a sign of the coming of spring and people flock to the forests to “dig a mess of ramps.” Many communities hold ramp festivals. When in season, local restaurants, roadside vegetable stands, and other markets sell ramps to residents and tourists. In recent years, the interest in these spring delicacies has increased to the point that high-end restaurants in cities across the nation are now offering ramps on their menus.

Much of the demand for ramps is being met through wild harvesting. All of these activities have increased concern for the sustainability of these forest plants due to the potential for over-harvesting.

The increasing popularity of this woodland crop has created opportunities for landowners to also “farm” ramps in their woodlots. Forest farming ramps not only gives landowners an additional income source, but may also help alleviate pressure on wild populations.

A recent Agroforestry Note produced by the USDA National Agroforestry Center, in partnership with the Forest Service Southern Research Station, details the management and production of ramps in a forest farming setting. It describes site selection, site preparation and planting, maintenance and care, harvesting and processing, and marketing and economics.  Follow this LINK to the entire article.

Marilyn Wyman, the Issue Lead in Natural Resources and the Environment for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Columbia and Green Counties, New York and the Agroforestry Resource Center, said, “Connecting audiences with information in the Forest Farming Ramps publication provides them a crucial link to a culturally interesting, delicious and potentially lucrative plant. This information may be especially interesting to woodland owners who seek to cultivate food and farming enterprises on their properties.” With this publication, the USDA National Agroforestry Center helps to provide an additional resource for private forest owners who wish to diversify their income streams and cultivate a delicious plant.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Conservation options for landowners is topic of April 22 meeting in Senecaville

Landowners in Belmont, Guernsey and Noble counties can learn about the conservation protection options available to them at an April 22 meeting in Senecaville.
The meeting, which is sponsored by the area Farm Bureau office in cooperation with the Soil and Water Conservation Districts and OSU Extension, will be held at 7 p.m. at the Mid-East Career Center, Buffalo Campus, 57090 Vocational Rd., Senecaville.  The meeting will be an opportunity for property owners to learn about the land-protection options available via conservation and/or agricultural easements.
The meeting is free and open to the public. The area Farm Bureau is providing this meeting as an introduction to land conservation and land trust programming.

Kendrick Chittock, project manager for Western Reserve Land Conservancy, and Rich Sidwell, executive director of Captina Conservancy, will provide an overview of land conservancies and the options they provide to landowners.  Legal easement basics will be discussed, including who can establish them and what steps are required.  The overview will also list the benefits including tax reduction possibilities. Landowners in this region who are wondering whether their mineral leases would prohibit them from placing any protective easements on their properties will get a chance to explore that issue as well as other questions they may have.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the largest land trust in Ohio, has permanently preserved 558 properties and 41,954 acres, including 175 private farms and nearly 24,000 acres of farmland.  The Land Conservancy was formed in 2006 when eight local land trusts joined forces in the largest merger of its type in the United States.  Captina Conservancy was founded in 2010 to serve Belmont County and specifically the Captina Creek watershed. It is currently finalizing easement projects totaling 1,128 acres in Belmont and Monroe Counties and consulting on a pending easement in Noble County.

Both groups are members of the national Land Trust Alliance, and the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts.  Land Trusts are nonprofit, non-governmental, organizations funded by charitable donations to protect and conserve lands within their mission regions.  They work to educate the public about conservation in their communities while overseeing easements, and in some cases, owning properties.
For more information on the meeting, contact Farm Bureau Organization Director Betsy Anderson at (740) 425-3681, banderson@ofbf.org or write to her at 100 Colonel Dr., Barnesville, Ohio 43713.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ohio partnership to benefit public, private landowners; United State Department of Agriculture funding will help address a growing population of feral swine 03/19/2015 Daily Jeffersonian - Online, The

NELSONVILLE -- The United States Department of Agriculture is investing approximately $1.3 million this year to help improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems in Ohio. The funding will benefit public and private landowners in seventeen southeast Ohio counties. 

The U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources are pledging their support to Oak Management in the Ohio Appalachian Mountains. 

On public lands, this project will fund the control of invasive plants like Ailanthus (tree of heaven) that directly compete with native forest trees, as well as treatments that will improve conditions in forest stands with high potential for oak regeneration. 

Prescribed burning will also be conducted to help young oak and hickory trees thrive and grow. 

On private lands, funds for the USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program, a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural and forestry producers, will be available to manage oak on private lands that have a Forest Stewardship plan in place. 

Treatments will focus on the control of invasive plants and competing native hardwoods to promote oak regeneration. 

NRCS administers EQIP with the ODNR Division of Forestry providing technical assistance to interested private woodland owners. Assistance from USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will help address a growing population of feral swine across both private and public lands. 

"By leveraging the technical and financial resources of State and Federal agencies in Ohio, as well as a diverse group of partners, this coordinated effort is helping to restore lands across large landscapes that include both public and private landowners," said Forest Supervisor Anthony Scardina. 

Terry Cosby, Ohio's NRCS State Conservationist said, "People may be surprised to learn that 73 percent of the land within the Wayne National Forest proclamation boundary is privately owned and interspersed within the Forest boundaries. This clearly demonstrates the need to work with private landowners within the Forest if we want to significantly impact overall forest health, which is the goal of this project." 

"We are pleased to work with the many partners involved with this effort to improve forest management and wildlife habitat in the Appalachian areas of Ohio," said Robert Boyles, ODNR Deputy Director, State Forester and Chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. "Ohio's Forest Action Plan provides evidence that oak-hickory forests are declining, and this is a trend that we are committed to reversing due to the unique qualities of oak forests for timber, wildlife habitat and other woodland benefits." 

Nationally, in support of the agencies' Chiefs' Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership, nearly $10 million this year is being invested in 15 projects across the nation to help mitigate wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protect water quality and supply and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species. 

Funding for this initiative was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. 

Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life. 

For more information, visit the website www.fs.usda.gov/wayne or follow the Wayne National Forest on Twitter: @waynenationalfs and also on Facebook. 

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. 

The Forest Service's Eastern Region includes twenty states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota. There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/R9

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. 

Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. 

Visit www.fs.usda.gov/ for additional information

Buckeye Lake Dam to be replaced

The Department of Natural Resources will begin immediate work to replace Buckeye Lake Dam, which was recently found to have serious structural deficiencies, Gov. John Kasich announced Thursday.  According to the governor's office, ODNR will begin the necessary permitting and design work for the structure. A US Army Corps of Engineers report released last week highlighted the dam's structural issues, as well as options for reducing public safety risks in the event of a catastrophic failure.  Gov. Kasich stressed that the safety of Ohioans in the inundation zone will remain a priority in the process.  "The Corps report clearly tells us that we have reached a point in time at which lives are in jeopardy and our priority must be protecting those people in harm's way," the governor said in a statement. "Buckeye Lake will remain a special place for many Ohioans and our intention is to save the lake and preserve this unique community."
ODNR Director James Zehringer indicated that the agency's prepared to release a Request for Qualifications, saying the state "will put in motion the processes necessary to build this dam."  "These are complex structures and with lives and livelihoods at stake, putting off tough decisions only creates additional problems in the future," he said in a release.

ODNR Seeks to Recognize Farm Families Leading in Conservation and Productivity

COLUMBUS, OH – Across the state, Ohio’s farmers continue to adopt practices on their land aimed at addressing important conservation issues, such as improving Ohio’s water quality. Food and agriculture remain Ohio’s No. 1 industry, annually contributing more than $105 billion to the state’s economy. As farmers are stewards of the land, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is seeking nominations of Ohio farm families who are leaders in preserving and protecting our natural resources for the 2015 Conservation Farm Family Awards.

The Conservation Farm Family Award program has recognized Ohio farm families since 1984 for their efforts in managing natural resources while meeting both production and conservation goals. Individual farmers, partnerships or family farm corporations are eligible for nomination, provided a substantial portion of their income is derived from farming. The judging is based on the nominee's use of new and traditional conservation practices, comprehensive management, individual initiative in applying conservation measures and the nominee’s willingness to share conservation information, experiences and philosophy with others.

The awards program is sponsored by the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD), Ohio Farmer Magazine and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

Five area finalists will be selected from across the state, and these finalists will be recognized at the annual Farm Science Review in September. They will also receive a $400 award, courtesy of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and be featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer Magazine.

Nomination forms can be obtained from local county soil and water conservation districts or by visiting the division’s website at soilandwater.ohiodnr.gov. The forms must be returned by May 1 to Ohio Farmer Magazine, 117 W. Main St., Suite 202, Lancaster, Ohio 43130.

Agriculture is the largest land use in the state, with nearly 14 million acres of farmland. Ohio’s 75,000 farms have both an impact and dependency upon the state’s land, water, woodland and wildlife resources. Conservation and wise resource management enable farmers to maintain a continued balance of economic productivity and environmental stewardship.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.


One of the most common responses that I have gotten from landowners as I have ranged across the Midwest in search of the Barn Owl is, “I remember when we used to have them in our barn.”  At one time, this owl was the second most common owl in Ohio.    It seems to have a special attachment to being near people, but is rarely seen even when it is present.    Two ingredients are needed in this owl’s habitat in order for it to survive – Cavities and Grass.    It seems that farmlands are just the place to supply these ingredients, or at least they once were.
Darkened peaks  of haymows, enclosed silos, tunnels in stacked hay, and large hollow trees in the front yard will suit the owl just fine for cavities.    In years gone by, many farm folk placed boxes in their barns and left entrance openings near the top just for these great mouse hunters.    With the slow disappearance of our once common, grand old barns and the cutting of those big old half hollow trees because of the liability they pose, the barn owl finds a landscape that does not have as much of this habitat feature.
The real key for the barn owl are those little furry animals that dart away when you lift a board laying in a field.   The Meadow Vole (most of us call them field mice) is the mainstay of the barn owl’s diet.   While house mice, rats, and shrews will be food for the owls, the vole is the fast food that they like best.   Voles are most common where hayfield and half-overgrown grassy areas abound.    The change-over from horse drawn equipment to tractors meant that every farm no longer needed to have its own source of hay.   That limited where you find the vole.   And because barn owls need lots of grassland for feeding a family, that caused their decline.
The barn owl was considered endangered in the state for many years and still has that status in most of the states around us.   Although it has made a come back, it is still one of our rarest of owls.   That is why the Ohio DNR is encouraging a new nest box program and Zane State College students in the Natural Science Club are taking up hammer and nails to provide nest boxes for them.    We are focusing our research on the owls in the Eastern part of Muskingum County and the neighboring counties where there is more grassland due to the reclaimed mine areas.  
We are seeking reports of the barn owl and are placing nest boxes in barns for free where we can find signs of their presence.    How do you know if you have the sneaky guys using your barn?    Look for white patches of their droppings along with the large, shiny, black pellets of fur.   These can be found near the ends of the haymow or under cross beam corners where they like to sit.   They will often sit and wait even when someone enters the barn, hoping that they will not be seen.   
If you think you might have the rare owl in your barn, give the Zane State Barn Owl Recon Team a call.   We will come out and check the area and place a nest box for free if we can confirm either the presence of the birds or adequate habitat for them.   
Barnowls@zanestate.edu or call Al Parker at 588-1259 or friend ZaneBarnOwls  on Facebook
The return of this member of the farm wildlife family may be closer than we think.   A family of the world’s best mouser may be your reward and an indicator of the health of our world.

– Al Parker – Zane State College Wildlife Instructor

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sign up now for Southern Ohio Appalachian Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Last year, farmers in 10 Appalachian counties took advantage of the Southern Ohio Appalachian Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to create grazing plans aimed at improving pasture quality and protecting natural resources. This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) expanded the program to include 10 additional counties in the Appalachian region.

Eligible farmers in Adams, Athens, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pike, Scioto, Vinton, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Morgan, Monroe, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, and Washington Counties can apply now for Southern Ohio Appalachian EQIP. All applicants must either have an existing grazing management plan or include developing a grazing management plan as part of their contract if they are selected for funding. Grazing management plans lay out which conservation practices to include in the plan and a schedule for implementing those practices over time, depending on the farmers’ goals and the natural resource issues present.

In the rolling southern Appalachian region, grazing animals can cause erosion problems. Rotational grazing, moving grazing animals from one pasture to another, allows pastures to regrow, improving the quality of pasture forages while also protecting the soil from exposure and erosion due to overgrazing. Creating these separate grazing areas requires either fixed or portable fencing, which may be included in the EQIP contract. Access roads, water pipelines and storage tanks, stream crossings, and heavy use area protection are other conservation practices frequently included in grazing management plans. Southern Ohio Appalachian EQIP funds help successful applicants cover a part of the cost of implementing these and other conservation practices in grazing management plans.

Since southern Ohio drains to the Mississippi River, soil erosion can affect water quality not only in Ohio’s lakes and rivers, but in places as far away as the Gulf of Mexico. The conservation practices offered through the Southern Ohio Appalachian EQIP help prevent this from happening, while creating healthier soil, forages, and livestock right here in Ohio.

Applications for EQIP submitted by entities, such as groups applying as a corporation, must have a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number and an active SAM (System for Award Management) registration status when applying, a process that may take several weeks. Applications cannot be processed without this information. Information on obtaining a DUNS number and registering with SAM is posted at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill.

Farmers with land in the 20-county Southern Appalachian EQIP area should make an appointment with the local NRCS conservationist to start the application process. The Guernsey/Noble Service Center is located at 1300 Clark St, Unit 10, Cambridge.  The phone number is 740-432-5621.

To receive consideration for funding this year, apply by April 17, 2015.

Learn more about NRCS programs and services to conserve Ohio’s natural resources at www.oh.nrcs.usda.gov.