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DeWine announces availability of first $30 million in H2Ohio funds

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda announced that $30 million in H2Ohio funding will be available for Ohio farmers in more than a dozen counties beginning in February. The funds will be awarded as part of Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio plan to reduce agricultural phosphorus runoff and prevent algal blooms in Lake Erie.

“Since announcing the details of my H2Ohio plan in November, we’ve had a great deal of interest from farmers in the Maumee River Watershed who want to do their part to improve the health of Lake Erie,” said Governor DeWine. “H2Ohio will provide farm-by-farm support to help farmers minimize phosphorus runoff while increasing profit over the long-run.”

Farmers living in the following 14 northwest Ohio counties will be eligible to apply for funds at their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts starting on Feb. 1, 2020: Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams, and Wood. The H2Ohio phosphorus reduction plan will focus first on reducing runoff into the Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie but will eventually be offered to other parts of the state.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, in partnership with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative, will host informational meetings next month to outline the application process, explain the H2Ohio certification process, and answer questions. Farmers living in any of the 14 qualifying counties are welcome to attend any of the following meetings.

The $30 million is part of an overall $85 million provided by the Ohio General Assembly for H2Ohio in the first year of the biennium. The remaining first-year funds will focus on reducing phosphorus runoff through the creation of wetlands, as well as on improving water quality by preventing lead contamination and addressing failing septic systems.

H2Ohio is a partnership between the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Lake Erie Commission, and a broad coalition of agriculture, education, research, conservation, and environmental partners.

For more information on Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio plan, visit http://h2.ohio.gov.

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