Wisconsin Extension Gets Conservation Grant

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research gave three grants as part of its ACTION program. ACTION stands for Achieving Conservation through Targeting Information, Outreach and Networking.

The projects explore how to increase landowner willingness to adopt conservation practices that provide a range of ecosystem benefits.

Researchers at Iowa State University, The Ohio State University, and UW-Madison got dollars to increase farmers’ use of conservation practices. In particular, they’ll look at in-field, edge-of-field and edge-of-stream practices. These could include controlled drainage, grassed waterways, and restored wetlands.

Edge-of-field practices can help farmers regulate water storage, improve water quality, and support soil health. However, implementation has proven to be a challenge due to a lack of effective knowledge of the barriers and challenges. The three projects will explore how technical support, peer-to-peer networks, and interventions can overcome the concerns and barriers to implementation.

Learn More About Wisconsin’s Project

UW Watershed Outreach Specialist Jenny Seifert is getting a total of $262,200. Seifert is testing two engagement approaches to increase farmer willingness to adopt conservation practices. These approaches, both informed by social sciences, facilitate peer learning among farmers. She collaborating with folks from Mississippi State University and University of Kentucky.

The first approach is a series of virtual meetups for farmers to foster peer-to-peer conversation about implementing conservation practices.

The second approach is a mini-grant program. It will support pairs of farmers and farm advisors to implement edge-of-field practices and develop multimedia to encourage other farmers to adopt conservation practices. They will evaluate both approaches to understand their effectiveness and share lessons learned to help farmer outreach efforts achieve their goals of increasing conservation practice adoption.