2017 in Review: On the ground conservation

Christmas is almost here, and the time to make New Year's resolutions is right around the corner. That makes this a perfect time to look back at 2017 and assess how Holmes SWCD has helped put conservation efforts in practice and on-the-groun in Holmes County for the year.

Even though I am the district's fiscal specialist, when I started looking at the numbers involved, even I was somewhat surprised to see the conservation investment made in our county this year:

Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District Cost Share

By far are largest program push, MWCD offers a $12/acre cost share to eligible Holmes County farmers to encourage the planting of cover crops throughout the county. Cover crops present a whole host of benefits to water quality and soil health. $37,812.80 were paid out in cover crop cost share this year.

EPRI Cover Crop Program

Similar to the MWCD cost share, EPRI invests $2,500/year to incent producers to plant cover crops in our county.

EPA 319 Grant

Holmes SWCD currently holds an EPA 319 grant earmarked for improving water quality in the Sugarcreek watershed. To date, $25,131.90 in cost share for on-the-farm conservation practices has been paid out in Holmes County this year.

Alpine Water Quality Trading

As part of their water quality trading program, Alpine Cheese invested $11,040 in farmers who installed conservation practices to improve water quality.

Walnut Creek Water Quality Trading

Similar the the Alpine project, Walnut Creek's water quality trading project invested $2,100 in on-the-ground conservation projects to improve water quality

Credits 4 Conservation

To date, $1,400 of conservation credits have been sold in Holmes County this year through the Muskingum River Watershed's Joint Board's Credits 4 Conservation program. Each $10 credit represents the purchase of  "conservation crop" in Holmes County: the savings of 1 ton of topsoil, 1 pound of phosphorus and 1 pound of nitrogen from eroding into our waterways. Those funds will then be invested in additional Holmes SWCD on-the-ground conservation programs next year.

 

So where does that leave us? Thanks to Holmes SWCD cost-share and water quality trading programs, $78,584.70 were invested to help Holmes County farmers implement on-the-ground conservation programs this past year. And that's a pretty good way to end the year.


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JANE HOUIN, FISCAL & EDUCATION SPECIALIST

A Holmes County native, Jane joined the Holmes SWCD staff in 2015 after spending 16 years in public relations for a land-grant university. She holds a BS with distinction in agricultural communication from Purdue University and her master's program in mass communication at Purdue focused on science and risk communication. Jane has a passion for educating youth about the science of conservation and agriculture and is an active volunteer in local 4-H and Scout programs. She is excited to bring that passion back to Holmes County where she manages educational outreach programs, social media, and fiscal administration for the district. Jane raises horses and sheep on the family farm where she was raised south of Nashville along with her husband Craig and her three children: Aubree, Garrett & Tristan. You can reach Jane at 330-674-2811 or jhouin@co.holmes.oh.us