The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff and the Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) celebrated the announcement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that The Ohio State University (OSU) has been awarded a $999,987 Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to evaluate and refine the Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index using field-scale monitoring. A total of $26 million CIG grants were awarded this year to entities across the U.S.
“This announcement is very exciting and an important step forward in finding answers to some challenges we have with regards to water quality,” said John Motter, OSC chairman and Hancock County soybean farmer. “Ohio soybean farmers want to be a part of the solution and this type of research is the key to making real progress.”
OSC began work with OSU on this project in 2011 and has since committed $450,000 to the research.
Other funding partners include the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program, The Andersons, United Soybean Board, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Nachurs, Trupointe Cooperative, Luckey Farmers Cooperative, Schlessman Seed and Paulding County Farm Bureau. To date, all funding partners have committed over $950,000 to support the project.
“Water quality is a top issue in Ohio and this type of ground-level research is vital,” said Tom Fontana, OSC Director of New Use Development. “This research will help us determine exactly what the best management practices are when it comes to phosphorus use in farming, and help farmers be efficient with nutrients.”
The three-year, OSU-led research project includes installation of instrumentation on selected farms across the state to monitor runoff and tile drainage water. After validation or revision of the current Phosphorus Risk Index, researchers will create and promote a tool for farmers to use when incorporating the practices on their individual farms. Other research partners include OSU Extension and USDA-ARS.
OSA has been working closely with OSC on water quality issues in the state. They recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to lead discussions with Ohio legislators about the importance of this project.
“We are committed to the future of Ohio’s 24,000 soybean farmers,” said Bret Davis, OSA president and Delaware County soybean farmer. “Finding solutions to water quality challenges in Ohio through research like this is an important part of protecting that future.”
To see a list of all CIG awardees, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov.