About the Blanchard Demonstration Farms Network

The Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network (BRDFN) is a joint partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and is a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project. The Demonstration Farms showcase and demonstrate conservation practices that improve agriculture’s impact on downstream water quality in Ohio.

Key Initiatives

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Establishing sites within the Blanchard River Watershed to test new and standard conservation systems in reducing phosphorus and sediment.

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Establishing an efficient mechanism to share management approaches and information with farmers, agribusiness, conservation agencies, and the public.

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Creating opportunities for our industry partners to test their research, provide technical assistance, and develop program implementation.

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Sharing information and lessons learned from the Blanchard River Watershed throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin.

Demonstration Farm Sites

Ohio Farm Bureau collaborates with stakeholders in Hardin and Hancock Counties, as well as NRCS and other partners, to identify farms to participate as the demonstration sites.

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Meet the Farmers Committed to Water Quality

McComb, Ohio

1,000 acres corn, soybeans and wheat

7,200-head swine operation

9 conservation practices

 

Dunkirk, Ohio

470 acres corn and soybeans

11 conservation practices

 

 

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Kellogg Farms

Forest, Ohio

5,000 acres corn and soybeans

9 conservation practices

 

 

The Team Behind Ohio Demo Farms

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Aaron Heilers

Aaron is the Project Manager for the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network. Previously, he was employed with the Auglaize Soil and Water Conservation District as a Nutrient Management Technician and the Miami Soil and Water Conservation District as a Drainage Technician. He is a certified conservation planner with a specialty in nutrient management planning. He is also a Technical Service Provider, providing guidance to producers with nutrient management and headquarters evaluation.

 

Aaron and his wife Sarah have a grain farm in Shelby County, as well as a wine grape vineyard. They have three young boys – Will, Eli and Luke.

Jordan Hoewischer

Jordan Hoewischer

Jordan is the Director of Water Quality and Research for Ohio Farm Bureau and provides important leadership to Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network.

 

Jordan received a B.S. in Turfgrass Science with a minor in Animal Science from The Ohio State University and a masters in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois. Jordan grew up as part of the fifth generation on his family’s hog and grain farm in Sidney, Ohio and currently lives in Columbus.

DougDeardorff

Doug Deardorff

Doug is a Resource Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and represents the agency on the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms project. He has more than 20 years of experience as a District Conservationist working with landowners to solve land and resource management concerns.

 

Prior to his current role, he served as an Area Resource Conservationist providing technical leadership to 20 counties in northwest Ohio. Currently, he also serves as state coordinator for the USDA Beginning Farmer Team and is engaged in NRCS water quality efforts in the Western Basin of Lake Erie.

Water Quality Challenges in Ohio and Beyond

In 2014, Toledo citizens lost drinking water due to a harmful algal bloom that situated itself over the top of the city’s water intake pipes. This situation brought water quality issues, not just at the local and state level, to a global forefront.

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