Well, this has been an abrupt change to the mild weather we have been having. We’ll have to see if we get significant snowfall this weekend.
It really is looking like winter will be a pretty mild if the weather experts and their many models are right. The 10-day outlook suggests we may get back into the 40s after Tuesday. For now, the freezing temperatures hopefully will allow for farmers to get the final acres of grain harvested and put the 2018 harvest season once and for all to bed!
The Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation (SWCD) office has asked me to invite everyone that may have an interest in farmland preservation to attend an upcoming informational meeting about the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation program for Clinton County.
This program will be held Wednesday, Jan. 23 at the SWCD office, 111 S. Nelson Ave., Wilmington. The information presented will focus on the 2019 Clean Ohio local Agricultural Easement Purchase program.
Known as the Agricultural Easement Donation Program (AEDP), it is a tool for landowners to protect their farm’s soils, natural resource features, and scenic open space. It provides landowners the opportunity to donate the easement rights on viable farmland to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).
The department assures the land remains in agricultural use forever. The standard cost for services needed to secure the easement (i.e., title examination, title policy, escrow, closing and recordation) are covered by ODA.
All easement transactions are permanent. They are recorded on the property deed, and will transfer with the land to successive owners.
The program allows landowners to voluntarily sell easements on their farms to the state of Ohio. The easement requires the farm remain permanently in agriculture production.
Selected farms must be 40 acres or more, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have the support of their local government and not lay directly in the path of development.
Landowners may use the proceeds of the easement in any way they wish, but most reinvest it in their farm operations.
Funding for the program is derived from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, approved by voters in 2008. When combined with easements from all programs, 449 family farms in 59 counties have collectively preserved more than 73,500 acres in agricultural production.
For more information on Ohio’s farmland preservation effort visit: www.agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/programs/farmland-preservation-office.
Another event sponsored by the Clinton County SWCD is their annual Tree Seedling sale going on now through March 4, 2019.
The trees are offered as a low cost source of plant material for wildlife, timber plantings, windbreaks, and other conservation uses. These trees are available to anyone without restriction.
These tree seedlings are generally 1- to 4-year seedlings or 5- to 6-year transplants and will average 8 to 18 inches in height.
A few highlights to go along with the overall tree selection they offer during this year’s sale will include the Sargent crabapple, a dwarf deciduous tree that is known for its blossoms, fragrance, and fruit for wildlife.
Another highlight is the sycamore tree that is fast growing, can provide good shade, and has great fall color.
And finally, the sawtooth oak that is a fast-growing tree known for its big glossy leaves and abundant acorn production.
They also offer packets of trees that include a variety of species for different uses. There is a wildlife packet that includes Eastern white pine, Norway spruce, American cranberry, chokeberry, and red osier dogwood.
The songbird packet includes red osier dogwood, black chokeberry, American cranberry and black cherry.
The homeowner packet will include the Colorado Blue spruce, common lilac, redbud, Sargent crabapple and the black cherry.
The final packet they offer is a hardwood packet that includes black walnut, Northern red oak, sugar maple, white oak, and sawtooth oak.
Order forms are available by stopping at the SWCD office at 111 S. Nelson Ave., Suite 5, Wilmington. Orders with payment are due by March 4. For more information contact the SWCD office at (937) 382- 2315.
Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.