Richland Soil and Water


H2Ohio Conservation Program

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director Dorothy Pelanda announced that the H2Ohio program is expanding into 10 additional counties in the Western Lake Erie Basin on July 15, 2021. Richland county is included in the expansion.

The program offers funding to farmers who develop a nutrient management plan and implement proven conservation practices that limit agricultural phosphorus runoff from fertilizer. Phosphorus runoff is the primary cause of algal blooms in Lake Erie. 

The final sign-up for H2Ohio will be in the spring. Producers are encouraged to attend a H2OHio pancake breakfast to learn more about the program so you don't miss this opportunity. 

Important Dates

December 16: H2Ohio free pancake breakfast, 7:30 a.m., Bloominggrove Auction House, contact Evan or call 419-774-7890 for more information.  RSVP encouraged, but not required. To RSVP click here.  Click here for the flyer

January 13: H2Ohio free pancake breakfast, 7:30 a.m., Jefferson Township Hall, contact Evan or call 419-774-7890 for more information RSVP encouraged, but not required. To RSVP click hereClick here for the flyer

February: Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans Submitted for Review

March 15: Maintain Cover Crops Until This Date

March 31:  H2Ohio Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan (VNMP) Completion Date

Voluntary Nutrient Management Fact Sheet

Overwintering Cover Crops Fact Sheet

Conservation Crop Rotation - Small Grains Fact Sheet 

H2Ohio Program Application

H2Ohio FAQs

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information on H2Ohio. 


2021 Cooperator of the Year

Congratulations to Kingwood Center Gardens for being named the 2021 Cooperator of the Year for their commitment to conservation. Watch the video to learn how they combine esthetic beauty, stormwater management and conservation practices while still delivering an exceptional guest experience.  


Richland County Food Producer List

Now, more than ever, buying locally grown and produced food is vital to our community!  With the events of 2020 impacting some food availability, a free list is being assembled of where consumers may purchase food grown and produced in Richland county. The goal is to help the public find locally grown and produced food products and connect local food producers to consumers. Consumers may develop a better understanding of where their food comes from, how it is produced and get to know the people who have a passion for offering fresh food. 

How can you get involved?

Are you a local food producer? Use this LINK to be added to the list.

To see who is on the list click HERE.  Learn more about the list. Visit Richland County Grower and Producers List.

This effort is supported by Destination Mansfield-Richland County, North End Community Improvement Collaborative, OSU Extension - Richland County, Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development, Richland County Farm Bureau and Richland Soil and Water Conservation District.


Farmland Preservation Program 2022 applications due January 31, 2022. 

If you wish to be considered for the 2022 program, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


2020 Farmland Preservation Participant

Thanks to Cass Gwirtz for protecting approximately 155 acres of agricultural land by entering the 2020 Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP), also known as the Farmland Preservation Program.  The easement ensures farms remain permanently in agricultural production. The Farmland Program supports the food and agriculture industries, which are Ohio’s largest industries. 

Cass's agricultural grain operation is in the Black Fork Watershed east of Shelby in Jackson Township.
Watch this video on the importance of the Farmland Preservation Program to the Gwirtz family.
If you wish to be considered for the 2022 program, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Lake Erie CREP H2Ohio Program

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a USDA Farm Bill conservation program that offers farmers and landowners financial compensation for taking cropland out of production and establishing conservation practices such as buffer strips, grasslands, and wetlands to improve water quality for a contract period of 15 years. The new H2Ohio Water Quality Incentive Program is being offered in combination with Lake Erie CREP and provides a onetime payment of $2,000 per acre for new Lake Erie CREP wetlands and forested riparian buffers (buffer strip with trees) to help improve water quality in the Lake Erie watershed. More wetlands and forested riparian buffers will help reduce phosphorus runoff into Lake Erie. Both conservation practices are on the H2Ohio top 10 list of phosphorus reduction practices.

WPIQ Announcement

Lake Erie CREP H2Ohio Fact Sheet

Lake Erie CREP H2Ohio Requirements

Lake Erie CREP H2Ohio Contacts

Lake Erie CREP H2Ohio FAQ's

Lake Erie CREP H2Ohio Guidance

Lake Erie CREP Fillable Application



ODA and OSU Extension Offer Online Pesticide Re-Certification

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), is partnering with the Ohio State University Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) to temporarily provide online recertification for pesticide applicators and fertilizer certificate holders whose licenses expired in spring of 2020. The online recertification will be available Monday, July 6. For commercial applicators, it will be available August 10.  For more information or to register for the online recertification, visit Pesticide Certification

The online option allows private applicators and fertilizer certificate holders due for training by March 31, 2020 and commercial applicators due for training by September 30, 2020 to meet their continuing education requirements. The cost for online training is $35 for private applicators and $10 for fertilizer certification. The price per credit hour for commercial applicators is $15. If you don’t know your license number, please call ODA at 614-728-6987, choose option 1. 

Applicators are still required to meet their recertification requirements to renew licenses and certifications.  As a result of HB 197, applicators have until 90 days after the emergency is over or December 1, whichever comes first, to complete their requirements.  Recertification status can be checked online here. Applicators must also submit a completed renewal application and pay an additional fee to the ODA for licensure. 

For additional information regarding online recertification, please contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6987, and press 1 for licensing recertification or the OSU Pesticide Safety Education Program at 614-292-4070.

Commercial applicators must earn at least five recertification credit hours every three years, and Private applicators must earn at least three recertification credit hours every three years. One hour (60 minutes) must be earned by taking one or more core education classes, one half-hour (30 minutes) of education in each category on the license, and the remaining time requirement can be met by attending classes in any category.


NRCS EQIP Cover Crop Program 

The NRCS Disaster Recovery EQIP funding opportunity to plant cover crops on flooded cropland acreage. The sign-up began July 1 and continues until the funding is exhausted. 

NRCS News Release

NRCS Prevented Planting Fact Sheet

NRCS Seeding Recommendations


Learn More About Cover Crops

What is a Cover Crop? Cover crops are plants that provide multiple benefits in a cropping system generally planted after the primary crop has been harvested. 

Benefits of Cover Crops: Cover Crops provide a multitude of benefits which include the prevention of erosion, improve soil’s physical and biological properties, replace nutrients in the soil, suppress weeds, improves the availability of water in soil, and break pest cycles along with many other benefits. The species of cover crop selected along with its management determine the benefits and returns.

Some popular planting methods include traditional planter planting, aerial seeding, and broad cast seeding depending upon the type of seed being planted.  Please click on this link from NRCS for more information about cover crop selection, termination, and planting guides. 


OSU Extension Local Food Producer List

Are you a local food producer? OSU Extension is in the process of compiling a list of local food producers by county and want to include you! Use this link to be added to the list. 


USDA Launches Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP will begin Tuesday May 26 and applications will be accepted through Aug. 28, 2020. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. President Trump directed USDA to craft this $19 billion immediate relief program to provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need. Learn more. 


Lake Erie CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program) 

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program or CREP, is a federal and state conservation partnership designed to address agriculture-related environmental concerns. Participants receive financial incentives from USDA to voluntarily enroll environmentally sensitive cropland or pastureland in contracts for 15 years. In return for annual rental payments that average about $154 per acre and financial incentives, participants convert the land to native grasses, trees and other conservation vegetation. Enrollment is on a continuous basis, as funding permits. Eligible land must be in the portion of the Lake Erie Watershed and must meet basic eligibility criteria for USDA's Conservation Reserve Program. 

Benefits of Conservation Buffers:    

  • Buffers provide another line of defense to filter surface water before it enters streams and water sources that contribute to nutrient loading to Lake Erie
  • Streambanks without buffers tend to be less stable and have higher erosion rates
  • Conservation buffers are a visual demonstration of your commitment to land stewardship                


CREP Landowner Contract 

CREP Sign Up Process

CREP Factsheet

CREP Practices


Ohio Applicator Forecast


The Ohio Applicator Forecast is designed to help nutrient applicators identify times when the weather-risk for applying is low. The risk forecast is created by the National Weather Service and takes snow accumulation and melt, soil moisture content, and forecast precipitation and temperatures into account. The chances of surface runoff in the next 24 hours are displayed on the overview map of the state. If you zoom to street level, seven days of weather conditions and runoff chances are predicted.

Risk is grouped into 3 categories: Low, Medium, and High. When the risk is Medium, it is recommended that the applicator evaluate the situation to determine if there are other locations or later dates when the application could take place.

Click the Forecast Map on the menu above to see the forecast in your area, or the About page for more information about the forecast system.

590 Application Map

This map has been developed utilizing the nutrient application standards from the 2012 Ohio NRCS 590 Nutrient Management Practice Standard. These optional standards were developed to:

  • Budget, supply, and conserve nutrients for plant production.
  • Minimize agricultural nonpoint source pollution of surface and groundwater resources.
  • Properly utilize commercial fertilizer, manure and/or organic by-products as a plant nutrient resource or soil amendment.
  • Protect air quality by reducing odors, nitrogen emissions (ammonia, oxides of nitrogen) and the formation of atmospheric particulates.
  • Maintain or improve the physical, chemical, and biological condition of soil.

The 590 Application Map displays several information categories to help users adopt the 590 guidelines. Information provided on this map includes soil drainage and flooding frequency classes, water table depth, N leaching potential and runoff vulnerability.

Nutrient Regulations

There are a variety of laws, regulations, and guidelines for the management of fertilizers and manures in Ohio. The Nutrient Regulation page summarizes these rules and the areas of Ohio where they apply; for example in 2011 special rules were enacted for watersheds in distress, and again in 2014 for land in the Western Lake Erie Basin.

For more information on the Ohio Applicator Forecast, contact us.

Agriculture Pollution Abatement Program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture -  Division of Soil and Water Conservation has the authority to establish standards for a level of management and conservation practices in farming and animal feeding operations. The purpose of these standards is to reduce pollution of waters of the state by soil sediment, animal manure and residual farm products. 

To learn more, go here.