Reducing Nutrient Runoff through Selling Water Quality Trading Credits
Ken Merrick raises grass-fed Angus-cross beef and pasture-raised pork on his farm, Conser Run Farm, in East Rochester, Ohio. The farm sits in the Ohio River watershed.
“Every time it’d rain, I’d watch the nutrients just washing down off of the hill,” Merrick says. “I needed to change something to capture what I was losing.”
In 2012, AFT, the Electric Power Research Institute, and other partners launched the Ohio River Basin Trading Program, the nation’s first interstate water quality trading market. Industries purchase water quality “credits” from farmers, who then use the proceeds to pay for conservation practices that reduce the amount of fertilizer running off their fields and barnyards.
Merrick used the funds he received to make improvements to his feedlot. He also created a buffer strip that catches runoff and installed fencing that keeps his cows out of a nearby stream.
“Without EPRI and AFT, this would not be possible,” he says.