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The Van Wert SWCD is currently accepting applications for one $500 scholarship to a student studying agriculture, natural resources or closely related field at any Ohio college or university during the 2017 / 2018 academic year.  The recipient of the scholarship needs to have completed their freshman year in college, and must be a Van Wert County resident.

Scholarship applications must be received at the Van Wert SWCD office by May 5, 2017.  The Scholarship Committee will review the applications, and announce recipient in June.  Scholarship money will be sent directly to the college or university at the beginning of the academic year.

Criteria for determining the recipient will be area of study, grades, activities, leadership, and commitment to conservation practices.  The SWCD reserves the right to refuse any applications not meeting requirements.

Applications are available in the office, 1185 Professional Drive, Van Wert, OH  45891 or below.  Applications and two reference forms need to be completed and sent to the office by the deadline of May 5.

Scholarship Letter                      Scholarship Application

On Wednesday, March 29 a Cover Crop / Soil Health Meeting is scheduled to be held at the Van Wert County Farm Focus Ag Pavilion (Farm Bureau food building) at the fairgrounds.  The meeting will be from 8 am to 12 pm  Speakers are:  Dan Towery, Soil Health Partnership, Joe Nester, Nester Ag. and a local ag panel.

Dan Towery is a field manager for the Soil Health Partnership and operates Ag Conservation Solutions in Lafayette, IN which specializes in continuous no-till, cover crops and soil health.  He focuses on the "how and why" a healthy soil becomes more resilient and can be the most profitable production system which also enables growers to improve the environment.  He has been assisting growers and making presentations on this subject on behalf of numerous clients in the Midwest. 

Joe Nester owns Nester Ag an independent crop consulting business in northwest, Ohio.  He spent 38 years as an agronomist and was named Ohio CCA of the year in 2014.  Nester was the first independent consulting business to become 4R certified.

A panel of local cover crop farmers will discuss what has worked and what has not.

The meeting is open to the public and there is no charge for the meeting.  Lunch will be served at the conclusion of the meeting.

Pre-Registration is due by March 24 to ensure a proper food count.  Email julie.buggle@oh.nacdnet.net or call the Van Wert SWCD at 419 238-9591 ext. 4253.

Sponsors are:  Van Wert Soil & Water Conservation District, Farm Bureau and Ag Credit.

State Representative Craig Riedel and Senator Cliff Hite met recently with the Van Wert SWCD at the annual "Conservation Partnership Meeting held in Columbus.

Over 650 conservation leaders consisting of supervisors and staff from Ohio's 88 SWCDs, partners representing the ODA, USDA/NRCS, Ohio Association of Soil and Water Conservation District Employees, Ohio EPA, ODNR, OSU and many others were on hand during the two-day event centered around the theme, "All-In For Conservation"  The meeting challenged attendees to identify and strengthen their commitment to conservation as each work to positively impact Ohio's economy, environment, and future.

Craig Riedel with the Van Wert SWCD Board and staff

Cliff Hite with Van Wert SWCD Board and staff

We appreciate Representative Riedel and Senator Hite for taking the time to meet and hear how SWCDs are positively impacting our local communities through a variety of programs and projects aimed to increase the economy while advancing conservation stewardship.

The Van Wert Soil & Water Conservation District now has a presence on Facebook!  Check out current activities, and programs listed as Van Wert Soil & Water Conservation District.

Fish Fingerling Order Forms are now available.  Bass, Blue Gill, Channel Catfish, Amur and Minnows are on the order form.  Delivery of orders is Wednesday, May 3 at 3:00 p.m.

Fish FIngerling Order Form

The Van Wert SWCD Tree Seedling Sale will begin January 3 through March 17.

Species available this year are:  American Arborvitae, Austrian Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, Eastern White Pine, Norway Spruce, American Cranberry, Black Cherry, Common Lilac, Pin Oak, Pond Cypress, Red Bud, Red Osier Dogwood, Sugar Maple, and Sweet Gum.

Homeowner Pack this year is available with an assortment of:  Colorado Blue Spruce, Red Bud, Common Lilac, Sugar Maple, and Pin Oak.  Also Wildflower, Hummingbird and Bird and Butterfly Seed is available to order. 

The program is open to the public and orders will be accepted until March 17.  Payment is required when orders are placed.  There is no warranty or guarantee on the seedlings.  The seedlings are packaged in packets of ten.  Order pickup will be available mid April.

2017 Tree Order Form and Description of Species

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 owner or operator of a small agricultural operation or medium agricultural operation may apply to the Chief for an exemption from the prohibition.  If the Chief deems that it is appropriate, the Cheif may issue such an exemption as follows:

  1.  For a medium agricultural operation, for a period ending not later than July 3, 2016.

  2.  For a small agricultural operation, for a period ending not later than July 3, 2017.

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

An exemption application is now available at the SWCD office.  The application needs to be submitted to the ODA,  Division of Soil & Water for approval.


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.

2016 Long Term Water Quality Study

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, 2017 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 June 30, 2017.  Enrolled land remains under a CREP contract for 14-15 years.