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COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio's local soil and water conservation representatives received the tools and information they needed to inform Ohio farmers and landowners through a new training opportunity offered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The Nutrients and Water Quality class is a new component of ODNR's Technician Development Program being offered through the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources. The class consisted of six hours of training, which focused on nutrient management techniques to improve and maintain water quality in Ohio's lakes, streams and rivers.

"Water quality is an important issue in our state, and educating the people that work in our local soil and water conservation districts is crucial," said ODNR Director James Zehringer. "ODNR made it a priority to offer this training to educate local technicians so they could effectively answer the questions of producers and landowners."

Three training sessions were recently held for 121 federal, state and local experts. The majority of attendees were technicians from Ohio's local soil and water conservation districts.

"This training has enabled me to better communicate with farmers," said Jeff Giesige, a technician with the Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District. "We see local producers in our communities, and they are comfortable talking with us for information about improving water quality and agricultural production."

ODNR instructors designed the class for students with varying degrees of education and experience. Engineers and resource management specialists from the department taught the basics of agronomy, fertilizer, soil health and water quality. This provided the technicians with information they can share with producers and landowners.

The new class was funded by a grant from the ODNR Office of Coastal Management and was offered at no cost to attendees. This class is part of the Technician Development Program, which is an ongoing initiative to provide professional development to soil and water technicians of all skills and backgrounds statewide.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.