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

Farmer Certification Program

Certification is now live for the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative Farmer Certification Program, which will help farmers throughout Ohio take conservation programs to the next level with a free, confidential analysis.

To become OACI Certified, download the app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or click the Become OACI Certified button below. View our privacy policy here.

For instructions on how to set up an account and create a farmer profile, click here. For instructions on how to enroll in the program, click here.

About OACI

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.

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

Browse below for the most recent articles on OACI:

To the editor: Farmers are helping improve water quality
Toledo Blade, June 23, 2024
Latest Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative Report Gauges Impact of Farm-Level Water Quality Efforts
April 17, 2024
Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative Releases 2023 Assessment Survey Report
April 16, 2024
Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative 2023 Assessment Report: Executive Summary
April 16, 2024
To the editor: farmers should complete survey form
Toledo Blade, August 31, 2023
Forum - Water quality is important
Northwest Signal, August 29, 2023
Letter: Farmer remains dedicated to natural, healthy ecosystem
Lima News, December 10, 2022
Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative Assessment Survey Report Reveals Conservation Progress and Areas of Opportunity
March 1, 2022
Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative Releases 2021 Assessment Survey Report
February 28, 2022
OACI Presents Water Quality, Nutrient Management Priorities, Progress to Ohio Senate
October 28, 2021
Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative Applauds H2Ohio Expansion, Partners with H2Ohio to Host Farmer Meetings
July 13, 2021
Deadline to Enroll for OACI Conservation Initiative Farmer Certification Program is March 31
March 8, 2021
DeWine Talks Water Quality with Ohio Farmers
WKSU, February 19, 2020
Study: Farmer participation key to reducing algae blooms
Columbus Dispatch, November 27, 2019
Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative puts H2Ohio focus on farm-specific conservation initiatives
Ohio’s Country Journal, November 18, 2019
Farmers, Enviros supporting DeWine’s water quality plan
Ohio Public Radio, November 16, 2019
OACI seeks to help farmers improve ag for Ohio waters
Farm World, September 3, 2019
Diverse stakeholder group to benchmark nutrient management efforts and create farmer certification to improve water quality
Ohio’s Country Journal, May 15, 2019
Is water quality certification next for Ohio farmers?
Farm & Dairy, May 19, 2019

OACI Partners

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