CFAES gains a big new partner for improving soil health and water quality

Photo: Boden Fisher, one of six CFAES water quality associates, samples soil at a farm in northwest Ohio

CFAES and Cargill are sowing the seeds of a new partnership. The Minnesota-based agricultural company recently started supporting the work of the college’s water quality associates. Based in northwest Ohio, the six associates are part of a project by the CFAES Water Quality Initiative. In 20 counties, the associates are sharing knowledge about best nutrient practices, are working with farmers to implement the practices, and are doing on-farm research on the practices’ costs, effectiveness, and benefits. The goal is to boost soil health, improve Lake Erie’s water quality, and keep the region’s farms productive. 

Northwest Ohio is the focus because the region is in the Lake Erie watershed, because harmful algal blooms are plaguing the lake, and because farm-field phosphorus runoff is the primary driver of the blooms. Twin solutions—ones good for both farms and water quality—are needed. The project already has another key partner, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, which is funding half the associates’ salaries.

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Photo: Boden Fisher is one of CFAES six water quality associates. He is shown above as he samples soil at a farm in Hardin County (courtesy of CFAES Water Quality Initiative.)