Waterman Farm

Waterman Farm: Dr. Ward, Jessica D’Ambrosio and Jonathan Witter

SUMMARY: Establish an Agricultural Best Management Practices Demonstration and Education site at Waterman Farm that will serve as a model to students and owners/operators around the state on managing farms for improved water quality and ecosystem services.

SITUATION: Runoff from intensely farmed agricultural landscapes in the upper Midwest and other regions of the United States is recognized as a major source of excess nutrients and sediments to streams that leads to downstream turbidity and eutrophication problems, as well as potential community shifts to toxic species of algae, reduced fish and crustacean populations, human health risks, and reduced aesthetics. Major barriers to adoption of sustainable practices by both agencies and stakeholders include lack of examples to understand and quantify the benefits of these practices and a lack of information on how these practices fit within current regulations.

RESPONSE: Working with Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, USDA-NRCS, and a local watershed group, we will install 1,000ft of two-stage channel, livestock exclusion fencing in all pasture areas, water sources, a heavy use pad, and educational materials associated with each best management practice as part of an overall comprehensive conservation management plan for Waterman Farm.

IMPACT: In 2010, 450ft of two-stage was constructed by 40 members of the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association and served as a field day for operators to learn how to construct floodplains in agricultural drainage ditches. More than 100 students in FABE and ASM used the Waterman Farm Demonstration and Education project plan and implementation for their class projects to learn about alternative best management practices and better farm management for water quality goals. A media day was held to kick off the project. 20 members of radio, print, and television media sources attended. The project was featured on Channel 10 news, on ABN radio, and an Extension video was created: