Attend a project Info Session or schedule a One-on-One Appointment!

Come learn more about the project at a one-hour info session in Chelsea.

March 16 from 2-3 pm OR March 17 from 9-10 am.

Location:  Chelsea Depot (125 Jackson Street)

Project technical staff is also available for 30-minute one-on-one appointments to review your farm and field data to see if your farm is a good fit for enrollment in the project.

Check out “Important Project Information” below. Learn how the project works and check the project area map to see if your farm is eligible.

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Whole Farms for Clean Water Flyer
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Grow a healthy business while improving water quality

Through this project the Huron River Watershed Council aims to empower you to measurably reduce phosphorus runoff into the Huron River and Lake Erie with sustainable and profitable long-term conservation approaches that are good for your farm.

WE can identify measurable, flexible and cost-effective conservation techniques for your farm and fields.

Our project team, including farm consultants and agronomists, will work directly with you to collect farm and field-specific information. We combine your farm data with watershed-level nutrient and economic modeling. The model predicts measurable results for a variety of conservation practices. Together we will explore scenarios and conservation options that meet your business goals.

YOU will be eligible to get paid for calculated reductions in phosphorus for the techniques YOU CHOOSE to implement.

Our project can guarantee a minimum payment of $20 per acre for reducing phosphorus runoff. This offer applies to the first 1,000 acres that commit to carrying out the conservation practice recommendations indicated by our model.

The bigger your phosphorus reduction, the more you get paid.

Funding is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Don’t wait to sign up!

More than reducing phosphorus runoff, working with Whole Farms for Clean Water is an investment in the success of your farm.

During the project, you can choose to develop a Whole Farm Plan. It is a comprehensive plan for your farm that recommends new markets and long-term approaches for profitability across your entire farm operation. The Whole Farm Plan captures your farm’s history, resources, opportunities and constraints. It investigates and suggests potential revenue streams and conservation practices. It identifies the best local, state and federal resources and partnerships for achieving your business goals.

We will also connect you with regional markets at our “meet the buyers” event―exclusive to Whole Farms for Clean Water participants.

The Whole Farms for Clean Water Approach
Data-Driven. We use farm and field-specific information combined with Huron River-specific watershed-level nutrient and economic modeling. The data informs the appropriate best management practices for reducing phosphorus runoff from your fields and saving you money.
Responsive. Technical staff will meet with you in person to input shared information into a model and run scenarios of different management practices together.
Flexible. The model can estimate the technical performance (per pound of phosphorus reduced) and cost-effectiveness of the conservation practices that are best for your business.
Profitable. You get paid (per pound of phosphorus reduced) when you implement conservation practices.
Measurable. You will  find out what actions will make a measurable difference.
Lasting. Get a customized Whole Farm Plan produced by a professional agronomist for your farming operation to use beyond the project.
Confidential. Your information will be kept private and only used for the program. No information that identifies specific participants or farms will be shared with anyone outside of the project team without your express permission.
You are in Control. You decide what is best for the bottom line of your farm.

Important Project Information

You have checked the Project Area Map and your farm is in an eligible location.

Step 1:  Find out if your farm is good fit for enrollment in Whole Farms for Clean Water. Attend a group Info Session to learn more about the project or sign up for a one-on-one Get Started Appointment to move on to Step 2.

If you are not able to attend a group Info Session or our pre-scheduled Get Started Appointment hours, contact the project technical staff to arrange an alternate date and time that works for you.

Step 2:  Complete the Farm Survey at a Get Started Appointment with assistance from the technical team. The technical team can give immediate feedback estimating the most effective practices for your fields and the corresponding payments.

Farm Survey (Print) OR Farm Survey (Interactive)

Required documents/data for completing the Farm Survey and signing up for the project (bring these to your Get Started Appointment if possible):

-Field maps

-Soil test results

-Nutrient management plan

-Cropping records

-Application records

-Other relevant field-level management data

Step 3:  The project team will model practices to establish official payments, then work with you to determine the best practices for your farm.

Step 4:  You sign a contract committing to implement practices from Step 3 that includes the corresponding payments you will receive after verification.

Step 5:  Project staff will verify that the practices have been implemented on your farm.

Step 6:  You receive payment for implementing conservation practices that improve water quality.

Whole Farms for Clean Water is seeking to support farms located in the areas of the Huron River watershed shown in green on the interactive map below. Farms do not need to have a waterway on their land to participate.

The eligible subwatersheds include Mill Creek, Honey Creek, Boyden Creek, Fleming Creek and Portage Creek in addition to direct drainage to the river. See detailed maps and learn more about these creeksheds HERE at the HRWC Info Stream.

 

 

Incentives for implementing recommended conservation practices:

Whole Farms for Clean Water can guarantee a minimum payment of $20 per acre for reducing phosphorus runoff. This offer applies to the first 1,000 acres that commit to carrying out the conservation practice recommendations indicated by our model. Participants get paid when they implement the practices.

The bigger your phosphorus reduction, the more you get paid. Funding is limited and is available first-come, first-served.

You must meet all the Participation Requirements. See How Does the Project Work for additional details.

Whole Farm Plans:

Enrolled participants can choose to develop a comprehensive plan for your farm that recommends new markets and long-term approaches for profitability across your entire farm operation. The Whole Farm Plan captures your farm’s history, resources, opportunities and constraints. It investigates and suggests potential revenue streams and conservation practices. It identifies the best local, state and federal resources and partnerships for achieving your business goals.

Meet the Buyers Event:

Whole Farms for Clean Water will also connect enrolled participants with regional markets at a “meet the buyers” event.

The Huron River watershed is contributing significant amount of phosphorus in runoff to Lake Erie. Excess nutrients in Lake Erie have caused numerous harmful algae blooms, affecting drinking water, fish populations, recreation and tourism. Next to the Detroit River and the River Raisin, the Huron River is Michigan’s third largest tributary and fifth overall contributor of phosphorus to Western Lake Erie.

Impoundments of the Huron River that are downstream of the program target area – Ford and Belleville lakes – experience regular algae blooms in the summer recreation months. A federal regulatory policy was established to reduce excess phosphorus.

HRWC and partners have demonstrated success in reducing phosphorus and sediment loading from urban sources in the watershed. The phosphorus coming from urban stormwater sources (including stormwater and waste water) has been reduced by an estimated 40%.

However, agricultural sources have not been addressed. Recent data from HRWC’s water quality monitoring program indicate that total phosphorus concentrations from Mill Creek (land use is primarily agricultural) have increased by 17% since 2003. Since Mill Creek has such a large watershed and the creek generates a large flow volume, loading has increased by over 50% since monitoring began in 2003. Agricultural drainages now contribute 48% of the total phosphorus load to the impaired lakes.

Even with this increase in agricultural phosphorus loading, the urban reductions have brought overall loads very close to regulatory policy targets. If successful, this new incentive program could reduce phosphorus losses from agriculture by 10.5 tons per year. That should be enough to achieve phosphorus loading limits for Ford and Belleville lakes and significantly reduce phosphorus loading to Lake Erie.

In order to participate in the program and receive funding, applicants must:

-share requested farm data by completing our Farm Survey (our technical team will help you complete the survey);

Required documents/data for completing the survey include:

  • Field maps
  • Soil test results
  • Nutrient management plan
  • Cropping records
  • Application records
  • Other relevant field-level management data

-sign a contract acknowledging the practices they will implement and the corresponding payment structure for implementation;

-provide access for on-site verification that the practices are implemented; and

-submit a W9 tax form if incentive payments exceed $999.

All data shared with program managers, technical consultants and agronomists will remain confidential, see Privacy Statement.

To best support your decision-making about conservation options we will generally need:

Farm and field locations (sizes in acres), crop types and rotations (planting and harvest dates), tillage practices, nutrient applications (time, place, rate, source), current soil tests including phosphorus levels, animal types, number of animals, manure storage and spreading information, tile drainage use and any structural practices in use such as two-stage ditches, wildlife habitat, buffer strips or grassed waterways. All data shared with program managers, technical consultants and agronomists will remain confidential, see Privacy Statement.

You will provide this information by completing a Farm Survey (our technical team will help you complete the survey at a one-one-one Get Started Appointment).

Farm Survey (Print)

Farm Survey (Interactive)

Required documents/data for completing the survey include:

-Field maps

-Soil test results

-Nutrient management plan

-Cropping records

-Application records

-Other relevant field-level management data

Solutions in the Land is providing farm consulting and technical support to Whole Farms for Clean Water participants. If you are a farmer, Hope Hellman and Stacy Cushenbery will work directly with you. Please sign up using the form above.

 

 

 

Hope Hellmann, Project Coordinator & Sustainable Ag Consultant

 

 

 

 

Stacy Cushenbery, Urban & Sustainable Ag Consultant

 

 

 

 

Ron Doetch, Managing Partner & Agronomist

 

For questions about the overall project or to reach us by phone, contact Ric Lawson by email, or call (734) 769-5123 x 609.

The only information specific to your farm that will be released will be the type of best management practices implemented and the subwatershed (broad drainage area) in which your farm is located, which the project funder (U.S. EPA) requires. The project will only make other results available in a generalized, anonymous fashion, including the nutrient runoff reductions and cost-effectiveness of the combined management changes in the program. All other information, such as individual soil test results, fertilizer application rates, field-specific management techniques, and field-specific nutrient or sediment runoff estimates, will be held as confidential within the project team for purposes of computing nutrient loss reduction benefits, and will not be released to any persons or entities other than to the EPA without the prior written permission of the farmer. EPA’s use of information is limited to documenting environmental progress and/or fulfilling financial (fiduciary) responsibilities.

Immediate Questions

Contact Whole Farms for Clean Water project manager, Ric Lawson via email or call (734) 769-5123 x 609.

Project Support

The Environmental Protection Agency is providing
financial support in the amount of $649,353 to the
Huron River Watershed Council for the Whole Farms
for Clean Water project.

Project Partners

Environmental Consulting and Technology

Huron River Regional Conservation Partnership

Natural Resource Conservation Service

Ohio State University and University of Michigan

Solutions in the Land

Washtenaw County Conservation District

Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner

Sign Up To Learn More

Sign up to have a member of the project team contact you by phone and to get project updates by email.

Sign Up Here