Free mobile app helps area farmers comply with new state laws

A free mobile app is now available to help farmers comply with new recordkeeping requirements created under two state laws.

Developed by Knox County Farm Bureau and Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper (ONMRK) was designed to help farmers comply with Senate Bill 1, which restricts the application of manure and fertilizer on frozen, snow-covered or saturated ground in the Western Lake Erie Basin, and Senate Bill 150, which requires anyone who applies fertilizer on more than 50 acres to obtain fertilizer application certification. The app is available, Google Play and the App Store.

Over $30,000 in grant money for the development of the app was awarded through Ohio Farm Bureau’s County Water Quality Initiative Program, Ohio State University Extension and the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.

The ONMRK app features drop-down menus that make it easy and quick for farmers to record their fertilizer or manure application as well as record the current weather conditions and forecast for the next 24 hours. Those records can then be printed through an Internet portal.

“We wanted to make it simple and not have farmers be at the edge of the field and entering a lot of data,” said Knox County Farm Bureau President Trish Levering. “It was very important for us to team up with the local Soil and Water Conservation District on a project like this that has an impact locally and statewide. It’s going to take a lot of people working together to improve our water quality situation here in Ohio.”

After setting up the ONMRK app on their mobile device, farmers can easily record what nutrients they apply on their farms and fields. The application screen shows the current weather and the weather forecast. If the weather forecast calls for more than ½ inch of rain, there will be a warning, letting farmers know their application could be out of compliance. The application information is quickly entered in drop-down menus that track type, time, analysis, soil conditions, method of application, field conditions and amount of nutrients applied per acre and any notes to be included in the report. All the information is saved, and application reports can be downloaded for printing from the Web portal.

The project was one of 12 county Farm Bureau projects funded by Ohio Farm Bureau this year as part of its $1 million Water Quality Action Plan. Ohio Farm Bureau provided nearly $140,000 in direct support to the county Farm Bureau water quality projects with partnering organizations providing additional matching funds.