The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has awarded $750,000 in producer-led watershed protection grants to 30 farmer-led groups. 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.
“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, Governor Tony Evers increased the annual program funding to $750,000 in the 2019-2021 state budget. For more information about current producer-led projects and contact information for groups, visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/ProducerLedProjects.aspx.