MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has awarded $750,000 in producer-led watershed protection grants to 30 farmer-led groups, including a group in Dodge County. Grants support producer-led conservation solutions by encouraging innovation and farmer participation in on-the-ground efforts to improve Wisconsin’s soil health and water quality.
The Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil & Healthy Water organization will receive $39,093 from the state.
“Our partnership with DATCP’s producer-led program is one of our core assets,” said Chris van Someren of Jon-De Farm and the Western Wisconsin Conservation Council, a producer-led group. “The cost-sharing part of the program is extremely helpful in motivating our members to experiment with and implement practices that protect soil and water health. Beyond the capacity for funding, the program brings the added benefits of education, communication, and collaboration between farmers across the state. This kind of cooperation between government and farmers will be a critical part of Wisconsin’s conservation efforts moving forward.”
New to the grant program this year is a conservation benefits tracking component. DATCP will use this to measure the water quality benefits associated with the conservation practices implemented by participating farmers throughout the state.
This is the sixth round of grant awards since funding started with the 2015-17 state budget. During the first year, 14 producer-led groups submitted applications totaling over $242,000. In response to an increase in applications and interest in the program since its inception, Gov. Tony Evers increased the annual program funding to $750,000 in the 2019-2021 state budget.
First-time award recipients include: Biological Farming Friends, $16,500; Central Wisconsin Farmers’ Collaborative, $19,800; and Lake Wisconsin Farmer Watershed Council, $15,000.
Previously funded projects receiving new grants include, Bear Creek/Chippewa Farmer Groundwater Group, $23,475; Buffalo-Trempealeau Farmer Network, $40,000; Buffalo County Conservation Farmers, $14,984; Calumet County Ag Stewardship Alliance, $6,250; Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil & Healthy Water, $39,093; Eau Pleine Partnership for Integrated Conservation, $30,000; Farmers for Lake Country, $15,000; Farmers of the Sugar River, $14,700; Farmers for Tomorrow, $30,000; Farmers of Barron County, $17,200; Farmers of Mill Creek, $31,749; Farmers for the Upper Sugar River, $31,749; Horse Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council: $28,950; Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance, $30,000; Ozaukee County Clean Farm Families, $30,000; Peninsula Pride Farms, $30,000; Producers of Lake Redstone, $30,000; Red Cedar Conservation Farmers, $30,000; Sauk Soil and Water Improvement Group, $30,000; Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers, $35,000; The Shell Lake — Yellow River Farmer-Led Watershed Council, $12,750; South Kinni Farmer-Led Watershed Council, $15,000; Tainter Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council, $30,000; Uplands Watershed Group, $13,000; Watershed Protection Committee of Racine County, $40,000; Western Wisconsin Conservation Council, $30,000; and Yahara Pride Farms, $30,000.