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Snapshot of Ohio Agriculture

Farming on the Edge: Ohio Farmland in the Path of Development

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Did you know that the state of Ohio has been losing more than 50 acres of farmland per day? You have the power to help save our farms and farmland. Support Ohio farmers and farmers markets by taking these simple actions:
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American Farmland Trust Hires New Natural Resources Conservationist in Midwest

Jennfier FilipiakAmerican Farmland Trust has hired Jennifer Filipiak for the newly created Natural Resource Conservationist position in the Midwest region. The position is designed to support American Farmland Trust's activities in promoting conservation best management practices to farmers, increasing use of cover crops, developing environmental markets, encouraging farmland protection, and engaging women farmland owners in conservation. “Jen brings a wealth of experience to American Farmland Trust,” says Midwest Director Michael Baise. “She most recently led conservation programs promoting sustainable agriculture for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. She has rich experience with The Nature Conservancy in Iowa managing watershed projects and supporting conservation with scientific planning expertise, project management and grant administration. We are lucky to have her on board.”  Filipiak holds a BS degree in biology and ecology from Northern Michigan University; and an MS in wildlife ecology from Southern Illinois-Carbondale. She begins her work with American Farmland Trust on October 21 and will be located in Bloomington, Illinois.

Environmental Collaboration Topic of Keynote at Water Quality Trading Roundtable

American Farmland Trust President Andrew McElwaine will give the keynote address at The National Roundtable on Water Quality Trading on July 18 in Cincinnati. The two-day meeting will bring together key policy makers, industry and agriculture leaders, environmental groups, and others to discuss practices and policies for advancing market-based solutions to cleanup impaired waters across the country. McElwaine will speak on environmental collaboration.

AFT is currently working with state agricultural agencies and Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) on interstate water quality trading in the Ohio River Basin through a project led by the Electric Power Research Institute. The Ohio River Basin Demonstration Project aims to get water quality trading on the ground and uses lessons learned from the pilot trades to refine various elements of the trading plan. 

Water quality trading is an innovative market-based approach to achieving water quality goals for nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, through programs that allow permitted emitters to purchase nutrient reductions from another source, like agriculture.  It offers a financial incentive for farmers in the Ohio River Basin to implement conservation practices, while at the same time improving water quality and saving money.

Outreach to Women Farmland Owners Continues in the Midwest

2013 Bureau County Illinois Women LandownersAmerican Farmland Trust’s Midwest office continues to reach out to women who own farmland. On June 12,  a women-only learning circle in Princeton, Illinois, one of several informal gatherings convened by American Farmland Trust, Prairie Rivers and the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, brought women landowners in Illinois together with other women who can help them. Twenty-five women landowners and owner-operators attended; collectively they own or operate about 9,000 acres of farmland in four Illinois counties. Discussion centered on ways to prevent soil erosion and improve soil health, ways to manage hay and pasture lands, how to determine cash or crop-share rental rates, and ways to work effectively with tenants to improve conservation on the land. The afternoon field tour featured examples of practices on nearby farms. Inspired by the session, one of participants concluded, “Ladies, it’s time to get more involved, know our USDA staff and work with our tenants to place conservation on the land that we own.” Learn more about American Farmland Trust’s work to empower women landowners

American Farmland Trust Midwest Director Accepts Reappointment to Agricultural Statistics Advisory Committee

Mike Baise, Midwest Director, American Farmland TrustMike Baise, Midwest Director for American Farmland Trust, has recently been reappointed to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics. In this role, Baise helps to advise the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and NASS on the conduct of the agricultural census and surveys, critical tools in helping to understand the landscape of American agriculture. “I am pleased to be reappointed by Secretary Vilsack,” said Baise. “U.S. farmers, agribusinesses and consumers depend on the valuable information gathered through the various NASS surveys, crop reports and Agricultural Census. NASS employees work hard to provide accurate and timely information so crucial to making sound agricultural policy and business decisions.” Congratulations, Mike!

Precision Agriculture and Water Quality Trading

Midwest-farmer-smiling.jpgAs part of our work in the Ohio River Basin, American Farmland Trust recently launched a two-year project to develop and refine the first credit estimator for precision agriculture variable rate technology (VRT) practices in water quality trading programs. Data from universities, John Deere and Trimble will compare crop uptake budgets with applied nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) and use modeling at the farm-field level with edge-of-field monitors to account for excess nutrients. We will test and refine the resulting protocol with farmers and Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky state regulatory agencies. The work is supported by a USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services Conservation Innovation Grant, The Mosaic Foundation and collaborating partners.

Full Speed Ahead for Interstate Water Quality Trading

Ohio River Basin Map and barnAmerican Farmland Trust met with project partners in Columbus, Ohio, on November 13 to design an online registry for the Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Market; review our modeling, credit calculation tools and in-stream verification procedures; and discuss our initial farmer engagements and contracts. During the next two years, the project will execute pilot trades with farmers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. These states signed the nation’s first interstate pilot trading plan in August 2012 to allow power plants and municipal wastewater treatment plants to purchase nutrient reductions from farmers.


A Year of Progress in the MidwestField and farm in Midwest

From the steps of the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, to farm fields stretching across Minnesota to Ohio, 2011 has been a year of bringing people together. Farmers and citizens alike are fighting for policies and programs that will keep farmland in farming, while new opportunities are evolving to help farmers be better stewards of the land.

As we prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the year ahead, you can read more about our accomplishments in the Midwest from the past year.

Boy in CornfieldMidwest: The Year in Review

American Farmland Trust has fought to protect farmland in the Midwest for 27 years.  Sometimes called America’s breadbasket, the Midwest is blessed with prime farmland soils that are the envy of the world, but we know we can’t afford to take these priceless resources for granted.  That’s why we’ve been hard at work in this important region, and have made significant progress over the past year.

Champaign County Farmers Markets Voted America's Favorite!

AFT President Jon Scholl at Champaign County Farmers MarketOhio's Champaign County Farmers Market is the large category winner of our 2010 “America’s Favorite Farmers Markets” contest. Congratulations to everyone who voted their hometown market to the top!

Learn more about the Champaign County Farmers Market!

Ohio Update

Ohio farmlandClean Ohio Bond Fund Works for Farmland

The Clean Ohio Bond offers great promise to farmland protection and the environment. By preserving farmland, protecting green space, cleaning up urban brownfields, and providing recreational trails the bond will ensure a bright future for Ohio—all without raising taxes. American Farmland Trust was instrumental in the creation of the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. Since its inception in 2000 the Clean Ohio program has made an impressive impact on Buckeye farms [PDF].

Focus on Ohio

edible OHIO VALLEY cover Edible Ohio Valley Spreads the "No Farms No Food" Message

American Farmland Trust is proud to be included in the inaugural issue of edible OHIO VALLEY, a magazine dedicated to celebrating the local food artisans, growers, and producers of the Greater Cincinnati region. Published quarterly in time with the seasons, edible OHIO VALLEY focuses on local, sustainable food sources, and the people who work the land to bring this bounty to readers tables.

With beautiful photography and thoughtful content, the magazine and website will help readers savor and connect to the region’s food culture. An indispensible guide for people who are passionate about food, edible OHIO VALLEY is a feast for the senses.

The Costs of Losing Farmland: Public Radio Show looks to Northeast Ohio

An American Farmland Trust study helped inspire a public radio report on the effects of sprawl and farmland loss in Northeast Ohio. Our updated Cost of Community Services study for Madison Village and Madison Township in Lake County showed that new subdivisions typically do not provide enough tax revenue to support the public services they require—whereas farmland pays more in taxes than it costs in services. Specifically, residential development in the township required $1.24 in public services for every $1 those homes paid in taxes, while farm and forest land required only 37 cents in services for every dollar in taxes. WCPN Radio in Cleveland used the studies as the foundation for their news report on development patterns in the Cleveland metropolitan area.

Ohio Landowners GuideGuide for Landowners in Ohio

The Ohio Agricultural Landowners Guide [PDF] is available to farmers who want to conserve and protect their land. The 16-page full-color guide summarizes a full range of federal conservation programs, state farmland preservation options and assorted local initiatives.

The guide includes case studies of ideas and efforts that have been effective: innovative zoning in Clark County, active land trusts around the state and entrepreneurial farm marketing in Wayne County, where the Hartzler family opened the first new dairy processing plant in Ohio in decades.

Contact Us
Michael J. Baise
Midwest Director
2717 Bule Ridge Court
Bloomington, IN 47408
(317) 508-0756

To learn more about agriculture in your state, visit the