LONDON, Ohio -- As part of a comprehensive water management plan, Ohio State University's Molly Caren Agricultural Center has become a site for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), and farmers attending this year's Farm Science Review have the opportunity to see how it works.
Matt Sullivan, Farm Science Review assistant manager said that 127 acres of land on the Molly Caren Agricultural Center grounds along Scioto Watershed's Deer Creek and I-70 have been taken out of crop production and enrolled in the Scioto River Watershed CREP. CREP, an offspring of the Conservation Reserve Program, is a voluntary program for agricultural landowners who receive incentive payments for installing specific conservation practices.
"Enrolling the land in CREP is designed to improve water quality on the Molly Caren site," said Sullivan. "During Farm Science Review, farmers have an opportunity to see how the program works and enroll their own acres of land into the program if they so desire."
The land enrolled in CREP has been planted with warm season grasses, which, once established, will act as a buffer in flood-prone areas, filter sediment and nutrient run-off, reduce soil erosion and provide cover and food for small wildlife, birds and insects. The land has been enrolled in the program for 15 years.
"If a farmer has soils in flood prone areas, and say, loses a crop every five years, it would pay to put some of the acreage in CREP," said Sullivan. "Seeing how CREP works on the Molly Caren site has made a difference for one farmer as I'm considering doing this on my own farm. It's not a bad deal."
The goal of the Scioto River Watershed CREP is to create 70,000 acres of filter strips, riparian buffers, wildlife habitat, wetlands and tree plantings to improve environmental conditions and biodiversity of the watershed. Participants who enroll in the program receive 15 annual payments with additional incentives for planting warm season grasses and restoring wetlands.
Farm Science Review is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and the academic units of the university's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. It takes place Sept. 19-21 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio. Tickets are $8 at the gate or $5 in advance when purchased from county offices of OSU Extension or participating agribusinesses. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept 19-20 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21. For more information, see http://fsr.osu.edu.