In efforts to establish year-round vegetative cover on Ohio croplands, the Ohio Working Lands Buffer Program has been created. The forage established through this program will act as a buffer to filter out nutrients (especially phosphorus) from surface water, eventually reducing the amount of nutrients entering Lake Erie and therefore decreasing the severity of algae blooms.

Landowners will be eligible for an annual payment up to $120 per acre per year over a 5-year period through funding from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Our staff will assist landowners on putting together a plan for installing these buffers.

Buffers are a great way to collect nutrient runoff AND you get the added bonus of hay for your livestock. That being said…

What are the Benefits?

  • Receive annual payments for maintaining established forage.
  • You can harvest hay and forage from your Working Lands Buffer.
  • Improved soil health with year-round conservation cover.
  • Working Lands Buffers provide conservation benefits while maintaining agriculture production.
  • Working Lands Buffer are a visual demonstration of your commitment to land stewardship.


  1. Land must be located in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) watershed.
  2. Only cropland acres where sediment and nutrients have the potential to be transported from the field and enter environmentally sensitive areas are eligible for the Working Lands Buffer Program.
  3. The maximum enrollment width is 300 feet average. The minimum eligible width is 50 feet.
  4. Practice must be maintained for a 5-year period.

For more information or to apply contact Bret Margraf at or (419) 447-7073.

About Sarah Schott

I have enjoyed hunting, fishing, and the outdoors my entire life. My enjoyment of writing, reading, and teaching others leads me to want to share my passions of the environment. I have also found conservation to be very important and I am well aware of how important conservation choices are! Through my work with the District, I like to deliver information that is helpful, inspiring, and challenging for our readers to make even better conservation choices of all our natural resources!

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