Working Together With Ohio’s Farmers To Protect Ohio’s Waterways

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) is a partnership between agriculture, conservation, environmental and research communities to recognize farmers for their dedication to advancing methods that improve water quality in Ohio and increasing the number of best management practices being implemented on farms.

OACI offers resources and education that farmers need to proactively employ modern, science-based practices on their farms and better demonstrate how those efforts are improving water quality over time.

By collaboratively learning and sharing information across environmental and agricultural communities, Ohio’s water quality advocates stand as united, committed to identifying nutrient management and water quality solutions and helping farmers execute them.

OACI was formed to accomplish two key goals:

  • Create a universally recognized farmer certification program, with a pilot program beginning in early 2020, that will help increase adoption of best management practices and recognize farmers who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Create a confidential farm practices assessment that will benchmark best management practices adoption and track progress toward our goals.

Farmer Certification Program

The OACI Farmer Certification Program will help farmers, throughout Ohio, take conservation programs to the next level with a free, confidential analysis.

To enroll in the OACI Farmer Certification Program, please click the link below. For those in the H2Ohio program, you must be enrolled by March 31, 2021.

OACI Efforts

OACI members have advocated together over the past five years for new legislative initiatives, including:

  • Supporting creation of the H2Ohio Fund
  • Addressing nutrient application and certification by:
    • Placing restrictions on when fertilizer and manure can be applied in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB)
    • Creating a fertilizer application training and certification program
    • Certifying fertilizer applicators on farms larger than 50 acres
    • Creating consistent application criteria for farmers servicing nearly 1.1 million acres in the WLEB
  • Investing in innovative training and technology opportunities for farmers
  • Enrolling 9,400 acres of farmland in the WLEB in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program
  • Directly investing more than $6 million in agricultural nutrient management and water quality challenges
  • Researching new nutrient application equipment to ensure applications of manure are in the right place at the right time

Additional Ohio Water Quality Initiatives

OACI complements the work of other important water quality initiatives in Ohio.

Ag Nutrient Alliance

The Ag Nutrient Alliance facilitates the implementation of effective agriculture best management practices through integration of current research and data, stakeholder education, identification of research gaps and recommendations for funding priorities that can measurably improve the water quality of Ohio’s lakes, rivers and streams.

OSU CFAES Water Quality Research Consortium

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences’ Water Quality Research Consortium, which was formed specifically to address research and educational needs to support knowledge-based water quality solutions and efforts in Ohio, drives science rapidly from ideas to new approaches by connecting research across multiple disciplines, organizations and boundaries to create a holistic understanding of water quality.

4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program encourages agricultural retailers, service providers and other certified professionals to adopt proven best practices through the 4Rs, which refers to using the Right Source of Nutrients at the Right Rate and Right Time in the Right Place. This approach provides a science-based framework for plant nutrition management and sustained crop production, while considering specific individual farms’ needs.

OACI in the News

OACI released the following statements regarding Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s comprehensive, data-driven, clean water initiative:

Media Statement (PDF)
News Release (PDF

Browse below for the most recent articles on OACI:

OACI Partners

Efforts to restore and protect Ohio’s water quality are an ongoing goal of all partners in the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative.