Producer-Led Project Summaries

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​All Producer-Led Groups funded since 2016

Includes project summaries and links to their websites and facebook pages

​​Buffalo-Trempealeau Farmer ​Network​ ​Cedar Creek Farmers​ ​Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil & Healthy Water ​Dry Run Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council​​
​Eau Pleine Partnership for Integrated Conservation (EPPIC)​Farmers for Lake Country​ Farmers for the Upper Sugar River (FUSR)​Farmers for Tomorrow​
Farmers of Barron County​​ Farmers of Mill Creek ​ Farmers of the Sugar River​ Hay River Farmer-Led Watershed Council​
Horse Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council ​ ​Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance (LASA) ​​Milwaukee River Watershed Clean Farm Families (CFF)​ Pecatonica Pride​
Peninsula Pride Farms (PPF)​ Producers of Lake Redstone​​​Red Cedar Conservation Farmers​​​Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers​
South Kinni Farmer-Led Watershed Council​ Tainter Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council​The Shell Lake- Yellow River Farmer-Led Watershed Council​​ Uplands Watershed Group​
​​Watershed Protection Committee of Racine County Waumandee Watershed Western Wisconsin Conservation Council (WWCC) Yahara Pride Farms (YPF)
Sauk Soil and Water Improvement Group (SSWIG)​Bear Creek/Chippewa Farmer Groundwater Group​Calumet County Agricultural Stewardship Alliance

Bear Creek/Chippewa Farmer Groundwater Group

This group's efforts are geared towards reducing nitrate contamination in groundwater in the Bear Creek/Chippewa River watershed. Working in collaboration with the Pepin County Land Conservation and Planning Department, project goals include providing incentives to increase cover crops as a tool to reduce nitrate leaching; providing incentives for dairy farmers to compost dairy manure prior to field spreading; testing the use of compost to improve soil health and stabilize nitrogen in the soil profile; and testing novel corn varieties which have shown improved nitrogen efficiency and nitrogen-fixing traits. Contact: Micheal Travis, (715) 672-5214 

Sauk Soil & Water Improvement Group

Collaborating with the Sauk County Land Resources and Environment Department and UW-Extension Sauk County, the Sauk Soil & Water Improvement Group is focusing on projects aimed at improving soil health, reducing runoff and improving infiltration on lands within the Narrows Creek-Baraboo River, Honey Creek, and Otter Creek-Wisconsin River watersheds.” Projects include creating incentive programs to increase the number of acres planted to cover crops or converted from row crops to rotationally grazed pasture, and hosting educational events including pasture walks, field days and workshops to educate farmers and landowners about the importance of soil health and conservation practices. Contact: Justine Bula, (608) 355-4842

Calumet County Agricultural Stewardship Alliance

Working with the Calumet County Land and Water Conservation Department, the Calumet County Agricultural Stewardship Alliance has identified two initial projects: hosting an education/field day focusing on proper nutrient handling, especially in Karst areas susceptible to groundwater contamination; and baseline testing of wells across the county that are at high risk for nitrates and bacteria. The field day will demonstrate environmentally friendly farming practices and how they can be beneficial to producers. The goal of the well testing is to test wells across the county to establish a baseline so water quality can be tracked in future years through additional testing. Contact: John VandenBoom, (920) 418-5193


Cedar Creek Farmers

Cedar Creek is a tributary of the Milwaukee River in Washington County. Cedar Creek Farmers has developed an incentive payment plan for conservation practices to offset costs of establishing grasses in concentrated flow channels, reduced and no-tillage, fall cover crop establishment, and nutrient management planning. The goal is to spend 80 percent of the grant on incentive payments, with the remainder going to host field days and distribute informational materials. Washington County Land and Water Conservation Division is their collaborator. Contact: Allen Schmidt, (262) 483-0683


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Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil-Healthy Water​​

Operating in the Upper Rock River Watershed, this group’s long-term goal is to increase cover crop use and decrease sediment and nutrient runoff.  They intend to research what timing and planting methods work best for both spring and fall, and what grains produce good cover without harming yields of commodity crops. They will hold two winter workshops, a summer field day and an autumn tour for farmers, lake associations and the general public, and provide incentive payments to help farmers with costs including seed, equipment rental and soil testing. Dodge County University of Wisconsin-Extension will be the group’s collaborator. Contact:  Tony Peirick, (920) 390-0583


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Farmers for Tomorrow

This group in the Tomorrow River/Waupaca River watershed, with its highly permeable sandy soils, is focused on groundwater protection. Nutrients also reach the rivers via groundwater. To reach their goal of reducing nitrates entering groundwater from farm fields and barnyards, they will offer incentives for planting cover crops and cost-sharing for manure testing that can help prevent over-application. The funding will also go toward a kickoff dinner to raise awareness of farmers in the watershed, a field day, and demonstration plots. Waupaca and Portage County UWEX and Wisconsin Farmers Union are collaborators. Contact:  Matt Hintz, (715) 824-6706

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Farmers of the Sugar River

Working in the mid and lower Sugar River basins, these producers aim to show that conservation practices such as nutrient management planning, reduced and no-tillage, and cover crops can be profitable and to increase use of innovative conservation practices. They also want to raise public awareness of farmers’ efforts to protect the environment. They will use their grant to put on a winter kickoff event, provide incentive payments to farmers to try new practices, host a summer field day and plant a demonstration plot. They are collaborating with Green County Land and Water Conservation Department.  Contact:  Dan Truttmann, (608) 513-8363



Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance

Lafayette County faces groundwater issues presented by its karst topography. The alliance is focusing on cover crops to minimize soil loss and nutrient runoff as well as threats to surface waters. They will try to identify the species and planting methods that are most likely to increase use of cover crops as a conservation measure. They plan to conduct farm assessments to prioritize conservation goals, offer cost-sharing to promote use of cover crops, establish a research plots and host an annual meeting to present results to farmers. The Dairy Business Foundation is collaborating with the group.  Contact:  Jim Winn, (608) 778-3271


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Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers

This group plans to use much of its funding to provide incentives to farmers to do soil, manure and tissue sampling; develop nutrient management plans; and use conservation tillage and low-disturbance manure injection. Members seek improved soil health, greater farming efficiency and reduced environmental impact in their operations. They also intend to undertake gypsum trials as a means of increasing water filtration and reducing runoff on their heavy clay soils. They will host summer and fall field days. The Nature Conservancy is the collaborator.  Contact:  Joe Wagner, (920) 838-1102


Tainter Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council

This watershed in Vernon County is characterized by steep hills, highly erodible soil, and karst topography, so land use has a direct, dramatic effect on quantity and quality of water in streams. In addition, trout fishing is a local economic driver. The council seeks to reduce the impacts of flooding and erosion, learn what the surface water baseline is, learn good farming practices and share knowledge among neighbors, and improve agriculture’s image. This grant will help fund farm evaluations, surface water testing, a field day, a DNR stream ecology day, and cost-sharing for 500 acres of cover crops. Their collaborator is Vernon County Land and Water Conservation Department.  Contact:  Brent Froiland, (608) 391-0570


Watershed Protection Committee of Racine County

This new group will lead efforts to control erosion and improve water quality, providing information to farmers and other rural landowners about conservation practices including grassed buffers, ditch bank sloping, streambank protection, strip till, no-till and cover crops. They will be working in the Hoosier Creek, Eagle Creek and Goose Lake Branch watersheds, focusing on being good land stewards while improving yields. Grant funds will go toward incentives for planting grassed buffers and cover crops, and toward hosting a winter meeting and summer field day. Their collaborator is Racine County Land Conservation Department.  Contact:  Tom Greil, (414) 651-4076


Buffalo-Trempealeau Farmer Network

The Elk Creek and Middle Trempealeau watersheds are in the upper reaches of the driftless region, with steep slopes and many streams. The two counties have higher average nitrogen concentrations than most of the rest of the state. The network plans to work with farmers to budget and track nitrogen applications, and improve nitrogen management practices. They also want to work on methods and economics of cover crops, with a goal of planting at least 500 new acres or trying new methods, with a per-acre rebate. They will host a winter meeting. UW Discovery Farms is the collaborator.  Contact:  Brian Maliszewski, (715) 530-1107


Farmers for the Upper Sugar River

This Dane County group started with the idea that improving water quality required making conservation practices more accessible, increasing education opportunities, and establishing baseline phosphorus levels in the watershed. With this funding, they will expand phosphorus monitoring for producers who own land along or near streams. They will also host spring and fall field days, rent equipment for low-disturbance manure injection and vertical tillage, and offer cover crop incentives for 400 acres. The Upper Sugar River Watershed Association and Dane County UWEX are there their collaborators.  Contact:  Wade Moder, (608) 437-7707


Farmers of Mill Creek Watershed Council

The Mill Creek Watershed lies in eastern Wood County and western Portage County. The council works to reduce phosphorus loading from farm fields and barnyards, and to educate themselves and their neighbors about management practices that will improve water quality. They will use their grant to offer financial incentives to farmers to offset the cost of trying cover crops and no-till planting, to set up trial plots, and host three field days. Portage County UW-Extension is the collaborator.  Contact:  John Eron, (715) 498-5222


Horse Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council

Horse Creek lies in Polk County, and drains to Cedar Lake, which is listed as an impaired water because of high phosphorus levels. Ultimately runoff from this watershed reaches the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. The group was one of the earliest of the farmer-led groups in Wisconsin. This year it plans to use grant funding to cost-share soil and manure sampling, phosphorus indexing, manure spread calibration, as well as planting cover crops and vegetated field borders. Polk County Land and Water Resources Department is the collaborator for this project.  Contact:  Eric Wojchik, (715) 485-8699


Milwaukee River Watershed Clean Farm Families

This group will use its grant funding to provide incentive payments to offset 70 percent of the costs of cover crops and harvestable buffers, and to plant cover crop demonstration plots to test varying slope, soils, microclimates and other field conditions, as well as different planting methods. They will also host several field days and a winter workshop. The group’s goal is to promote and showcase best soil and water conservation practices in the watershed, which drains to Lake Michigan near urban areas. Ozaukee County Land and Water Management Department is the collaborator.  Contact:  Jim Melichar, (262) 206-1731


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Peninsula Pride Farms

Active in the Ahnapee River and Stony Creek watersheds, the Peninsula Pride group focuses on protecting both surface waters and groundwater through innovative practices. They plan to use the entire grant to cost-share farm assessments to identify and prioritize management practices, farming systems and landscape features to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination. Collaborators in the project are the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, UW Discovery Farms, Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department, and Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department.  Contact:  Don Niles, (920) 621-3253


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Uplands Watershed Group

This group of producers farms in five contiguous sub-watersheds in Iowa County: Meudt Creek-Mill Creek, Trout Creek, Knight Hollow-Mill Creek, Lowery Creek and Rush Creek. They will have a particular emphasis on a citizen water-quality monitoring project. Their goals for 2018 include having all farmers in the group using nutrient management plans, and increasing use of cover crops, no-till drilling and managed grazing. They also want to continue a relationship with Gulf of Mexico fishermen and extend it from Louisiana to Alabama and Mississippi. Their collaborator is the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.  Contact:  Michael Dolan, (608) 444-4759



Waumandee Watershed

This Buffalo County group intends to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of cover crops as part of a farming system over a multi-year project. The ultimate goal is to encourage more farmers to use cover crops long-term. They will also encourage reduced tillage, and aim to expand their reach to absentee landowners and farmers renting cropland. They will use their grant to establish cover crop demonstration plots and to replicate early field trials, host two field days and a winter meeting, and hold a meeting/webinar on conservation compliance and rental agreements. Buffalo County Land Conservation Department is collaborating.  Contact:  Dustin Ellis, (608) 797-0380


Yahara Pride Farms

Yahara Pride aims to enhance the Farmer-Led Water Quality and Farm Sustainability Initiative in the Yahara River watershed. The group will use its grant to provide cost-sharing and incentives, and to conduct farm certification and research programs. The ultimate goal is to cover at least 70 percent of the 40,000 tillable acres in the watershed with conservation practices, and to engage at least 80 percent of the 400 farmers in the watershed in efforts to improve soil and water quality. Collaborators are UW-Discovery Farms and the Dairy Business Association.  Contact:  Jeff Endres, 608-279-8991


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Farmers for Lake Country – Oconomowoc River Watershed

Collaborating with Tall Pines Conservancy, this group will host a winter conservation conference and nutrient management training, provide a fall field technology day, and partially reimburse farmersto try no-till planting of cash and cover crops, no-till fertilizing, and cover crops in full-season cash crops. Contact: Tom Steinbach, (262) 302-1466


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Pecatonica Pride

Working with Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Council, Lafayette County Land Conservation Department and Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development, Pecatonica Pride will useits funding for production of maps, assessments, signage and a manual, with the goal of creating a team of farmers, landowner, and community groups to improve and restore the Pecatonica River.Contact: Kriss Marion, 608-558-0501



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South Kinni Farmer-Led Watershed Council

Working with the Pierce County Land Conservation Committee, this group will provide incentives to

farmers to plant cover crops, develop filter strips, conduct farm walkovers to identify conservation

needs, and install grassed waterways and grade stabilization structures. Contact: Dan Sitz, (715) 273-6763





Dry Run Creek Farmer-Led Council

Collaborating with St. Croix county land conservation department, the groups will offer incentives to test conservation practices including cover crops, grassed waterways, reduced tillage and increased crop diversity, and host field days and conferences. Contact: Kyle Kulow, (715) 531-1908


Hay River Farmer-Led Watershed Council

Collaborating with Dunn land conservation department, the groups will offer incentives to test conservation practices including cover crops, grassed waterways, reduced tillage and increased crop diversity, and host field days and conferences. Contact: Dan Prestebak, (715) 232-1496 Ext. 2




Farmers of Barron County Watersheds

Working with Barron Land Conservation Department to reduce nutrient and sediment loss in the Yellow River watershed, the group will establish baseline data for land use and target areas, and use on-farm research and demonstration trials to address nutrient and sediment loss. Contact Craig Hamernik, (715) 837-1669


Eau Pleine Partnership for Integrated Conservation (EPPIC)

Partnering with the Marathon County Conservation, Planning and Zoning Department and many other stakeholders, EPPIC is working to improve soil and water quality. The grant funds will be used for demonstration fields, peer group meetings, and tracking the cost and yield of three different enterprise budgets. Contact: Paul Daigle, (715) 261-6006

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Producers of Lake Redstone

Producers of Lake Redstone are collaborating with Juneau County to develop economically viable mechanisms to get cover crops seeded, develop a community manure application system and use cover crops to provide nutrients late in the growing season. The group will share their progress through an annual meeting and one-on-one conversations. Contact: Brian Daugs, (608) 963-0157


Red Cedar Conservation Farmers

Partnering with the Dunn County Conservation Department, the group will address issues on surface water quality, groundwater quality, soil health and increasing outreach and education. Grant funds will be used for cover crop seeding, grassed waterway establishment, no-till planting, soil sampling, groundwater sampling and hosting educational events. Contact: Jessica Schoen, (715) 232-1496


The Shell Lake - Yellow River Farmer-Led Watershed Council

The Council is partnering with the Washburn County Land Conservation Department to show the profitability of conservation practices and promote the benefits to farmers. The group will provide incentive payments to implement conservation practices and support rotational grazing and will perform nutrient management planning, training and farm assessments. The grant will also fund the measurement of economic and environmental benefits of the practices that are incentivized. Contact: Brent Edlin, (715) 468-4654


Western Wisconsin Conservation Council​

Partnering with the Dairy Business Foundation, the Council will work to reduce nitrate levels in ground water in the Rush River Watershed. They will accomplish this by promoting and providing incentive payments for cover crops and no-till and will also focus on split-rate nitrogen applications and nitrogen use efficiency. The group will host a research symposium with presentations from UW-River Falls and hold a fall field day and winter conference. Another major component of the project will be to conduct third-party well testing to better understand ground water quality in the area. Contact: Todd Doornink, (715) 760-0216


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