Contact: Kevin Hoffman, Public Information Officer, (608) 224-5005, [email protected]
MADISON, Wis. – The latest round of Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants has been awarded to 36 farmer groups by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Farmers will use the funds to work with conservation organizations to address soil and water issues specific to their local watersheds.
Seven of the groups are first-time recipients. Together, the 36 groups will receive the full $1 million included in the state budget. Grants range from $3,250 to $40,000 for conservation practice incentives, education and outreach, on-farm demonstrations, and water quality testing and monitoring efforts.
Farmers continue to find value in the program and by collaborating with other farmers on conservation solutions. “The grant program has kept our group together and motivated to do more,” said Brian Malszewski, member of the Buffalo-Trempealeau Farmer Network. “It not only has opened doors to more communication on cover crop practices amongst the group, but with other groups throughout the state. It has personally held me accountable, and because of this program our team of farmers has gone above and beyond.”
This is the seventh round of grant awards since funding was first made available in the 2015-17 state budget. The 2021-23 budget authorized annual program funding totaling $1 million. Grant requests for 2022 totaled nearly $1.2 million.
Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants give financial support to farmers willing to lead conservation efforts in their own watersheds. The emphasis is on innovation and practices not already covered by other state and federal programs, and the intent is that participating farmers will help other farmers adopt conservation practices by offering incentives and through peer-to-peer education and outreach activities.
“As an agronomist and a farmer, I feel it’s very important that we share our knowledge about practices that improve the soil, limit erosion, and make our world better,” said Jake Kaderly, CCA, member of Farmers of the Sugar River. “The grant gives us that opportunity to locally share that knowledge through having events with speakers, in field demonstrations, and keeping the thought that soil health comes first.”
Groups must partner with a county land conservation department, UW-Extension, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, or another nonprofit conservation organization on their projects. Funds cannot pay for real estate, loans, equipment, or lobbying, and the program places caps on funding for staff support to the groups. Each group must start with at least five farmers in the watershed.
More information about the farmer groups and their accomplishments can be found at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/ProducerLedProjects.aspx.
2022 Funding Summary
|Farmers of the Lemonweir Valley||$33,600|
|Farmers of the Roche-A-Cri||$7,500|
|Farmers on the Rock||$33,600|
|Jefferson County Soil Builders||$18,522|
|Rock River Regenerative Graziers||$39,358|
|Bear Creek-Chippewa River||$20,140|
|Biological Farm Friends||$19,089|
|Buffalo-Trempealeau Farmer Network (BTFN)||$33,600|
|Calumet County Ag Stewardship Alliance||$22,898|
|Cedar Creek Farmers||$3,250|
|Central Wisconsin Farmers’ Collaborative (CWFC)||$33,600|
|Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil & Healthy Water||$33,180|
|Farmers for Lake Country||$23,604|
|Farmers for the Upper Sugar River||$40,000|
|Farmers for Tomorrow||$33,600|
|Farmers of Mill Creek||$40,000|
|Farmers of the Sugar River||$22,000|
|Hay River Farmer-Led Watershed Council||$14,700|
|Horse Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council||$16,800|
|Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance (LASA)||$40,000|
|Lake Wisconsin Farmer Watershed Council||$40,000|
|Ozaukee County Clean Farm Families (CFF)||$33,600|
|Peninsula Pride Farms (PPF)||$40,000|
|Producers of Lake Redstone||$33,600|
|Red Cedar Conservation Farmers||$33,600|
|Sauk Soil & Water Improvement Group||$25,000|
|Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers||$29,225|
|Shell Lake-Yellow River Farmer-Led Watershed Council||$21,252|
|South Kinni Farmer-Led Watershed Council||$10,140|
|Tainter Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council||$33,600|
|Uplands Watershed Group||$10,000|
|Watershed Protection Committee of Racine County||$40,000|
|Western Wisconsin Conservation Council||$33,600|
|Yahara Pride Farms||$33,600|