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The Ohio Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Van Wert SWCD is providing funding for new assistance programs for farmers to help protect water quality in the western basin of Lake Erie.  The Ohio Working Lands Program will encourage producers to establish year-round vegetative cover on eligible crop land. The program will promote conversion, establishment and maintenance of forage/hay land on certain cropland acres.

Van Wert SWCD staff will assist landowners on putting together a plan for installing these buffers. Landowners will be eligible to receive up to $120 per acre for a 5-year contract.  The goal of the program is to reduce nutrients entering Ohio waterways to lessen harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. Funding is available to farmers installing conservation practices that benefit water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
Program enrollment officially kicks off for Ohio farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin on March 15 and runs through May 1.  Farmers will be able to sign-up for the program at the Van Wert SWCD.


A voluntary program that encourages producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin to plant small grains such as wheat, barley, oats, or cereal rye on eligible cropland.  As the "working lands" 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.
The Ohio Working Lands Small Grain Program falls under the umbrella of the Ohio Working Lands Program. The Van Wert SWCD will manage the program sign-up, verify eligibility, and crop establishment. Soil tests and records of manure analysis and application will be required to be submitted to the SWCD as well.  Producers interested in the program should contact us to sign-up.


Orders will be accepted until April 24, 2019 for largemouth bass, blue gill, hybrid blue gill, channel catfish, white amur and fathead minnow.  The bass, blue gill and channel catfish are ordered in lots of 25; the 4-6" largemouth bass, blue gill and hybrid blue gill in lots of 20, the white amur individually but with a minimum of 2, and minnow are in lots of 100 with a minimum of 500.
Orders will be delivered to the SWCD on Monday, April 29 at 3:00 p.m.  They will be preboxed for your convenience and ready to stock at pick up.

Fish Order Form


Senate Bill 1, signed into law by Governor Kasich in April, prohibits the spreading of manure, chemical fertilizer, and sewer sludge on frozen ground, saturated ground, and under certain weather forecast conditions. Before Senate Bill 1 Ohio has had rules restricting manure application for years.  Specifically, Ohio Administrative Code 1501:15-5-05 states: Each owner, operator, animal manure applicator, or person responsible for land application of manure from an animal feeding operation shall minimize pollution from occurring on land application areas...  This existing pollution abatement rule is still in effect statewide.  Senate Bill 1, which became effective July 3, 2015, clarifies and enhances the restrictions on manure application within the WLEB.  The specific provisions of the new restrictions on manure application are:

No person in the WLEB shall surface apply manure under any of the following circumstances:

  • on snow-covered or frozen soil
  • when the top two inches or soil are saturated from precipitation
  • when the local weather forecast for the application area contains a greater than 50% chance of precipitation exceeding one-half inch in a twenty-four-hour period.

The restrictions on the surface application of manure do not apply under any of the following circumstances:

  • The manure is injected into the ground.
  • The manure is incorporated within twenty-four hours of surface application
  • The manure is applied onto a growing crop.
  • In the event of an emergency, the Chief of the Division of Soil & Water Resources or the Chief's designee provides written consent and the manure application is made in accordance with procedures eslished in the USDA NRCS practice standard code 590 prepared for Ohio.

 The applicant must be in compliance with procedures established in the USDA/NRCS practice standard code 590 for Ohio. 


                                                                                                                                                                     


Since 1989, water samples have been collected from Town Creek, area municipalities, and rural wells on a regular basis.  They are tested for nitrates, phosphates, and pesticides.  The results show that Van Wert County is fortunate to have quality water available.  Funding for thiis program has been provided by the Van Wert County Foundation and will ensure continued monitoring and protection of our water in the future.

2018 LTWQS Book




Since 1949, the Van Wert Soil and Water Conervation District has worked to assist local communities in the stewardship of Ohio's water, soil and other natural resources.  As algea blooms and nutrient management issues in several Ohio lakes intensify,the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD) and the Van Wert SWCD have launched the 4R Tomorrow program to encourage and engage all Ohioans in protecting and improving wate quality.

"Water quality a critical issue because it affects the quality of life of all Ohioans - not just the folks who live near or utilize the waterways that are dealing with the algae blooms," said OFSWCD President Kent Stuckey.  "While farmers and the agricultural industry are a source of nutrients that may cause the algae blooms, they are not the only source.  Anyone that uses fertilizers, chemicals or other nutrients on yards, landscaping, building sites, etc. are potential contributors as well," he said. "The good news is that with a few changes, all sources of excess nutrients can be minimized. And in this case, every individual can be a part of the solution!"

The 4R Tomorrow program, developed with support of the Ohio SOybean Council, promotes nutrient stewardship, water management, and backyard conservation to protect water quality in local communities and waterways across Ohio.  As part of the program, OFSWCD and conservation districts across the state are reaching out to farmers, homeowners, business owners and other ocmmunity stakeholders to help them understand how implementing stewardship practices in their daily lives can positively impact Ohio's natural resources.




The Lake Erie Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program has been extended through June 30, 2018 or until the authorized budget of funds are expended.

CREP provides assistance and payments to farmers who protect their land by establishing grass buffer strips, planting trees, and creating wetlands along the lake's tributary stream.

The CREP conservation practice options are:

  • introduced and native grasses/legumes in filter, recharge and other areas
  • restoring wetlands in non-floodplain areas
  • planting rare and declining habitat covers
  • establishing conservation buffers on marginal pasture land

The program will run on a continuous basis until the authorized budget of funds are expended.  Enrolled land remains under a CREP contract for 14-15 years.