A Cover Crop Field Day designed to introduce farmers to a variety of cover crops is planned July 20 in rural Tiffin.
Sponsored by the Sandusky River Watershed Coalition and Seneca Soil and Water Conservation District, the field day is being funded by a $532,000 Making Sense Out of Soil $aving$ grant from the Great Lakes Commission as part of its Great Lakes Basin Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Fund.
The field day starts at 10 a.m. at the Dennis and Gary Baugher farm, 4511 E. CR 50.
"We did one similar two years ago in Wyandot County," said Kendall Stucky, manure management specialist with area Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Seneca County was chosen because of access to grant funds and to let producers know funds are available to assist with sediment reduction through cover crops.
"And it's partly because some of the cover crops we're using now are new and haven't been used in this area," he said.
The grant provides incentives based on tons of soil saved by the practice and winter cover crops are a leading way to hold soil in place when it is most vulnerable.
"The field we selected is pretty close to being in the center of the grant area," Stucky said. "We're targeting farmers and producers to try to reduce sediment and runoff from the fields."
Other ways to reduce sediment runoff that might be discussed include changing crop rotations, repairing tile mains and installing grass waterways.
"There's still plenty of money available," said Cindy Brookes, director of the watershed coalition.
She said the field day will help farmers understand erosion and its effect on waterways and Lake Erie.
"If we can get practices in place to reduce erosion it will help with the dissolved reactive phosphorous issue, not fully, but it would help," she said. The issue is a component in harmful algal blooms in Ohio lakes.
Featured speaker for the field day is Greg Fretti of The CISCO Companies.
Other speakers will be Stucky, covering other practices of the grant program; Bret Margraf, Honey Creek Watershed technician, about his experience with cover crops in the Honey Creek watershed professionally and personally; and a representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, about how wetland determinations are conducted.
Also planned are seeding demonstrations, including seeding rates and methods.
A light lunch will be provided.
Advanced registration is requested, but not required, by contacting Stucky at Seneca SWCD, (419) 447-7073 or kendall.stucky@ oh.nacdnet.net, or Cindy Brookes, Sandusky River watershed specialist, at (419) 334-5016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also contact Stucky for more information about funding, to apply for funding or for a map of eligible Sandusky River subwatersheds.