Yahara Pride Farms seeks farmers for cost-share participation

Enrollment is now open for the Yahara Pride Farms (YPF) cost-share program. The deadline to enroll is November 15 and is open to farmers in the Yahara Watershed, which includes southern Columbia, Dane and northern Rock counties.

The program is designed to help minimize the risk associated with trying new conservation practices on the farm. One of the program goals is to provide farmers with value in hopes they continue or combine endorsed practices for even greater environmental impact. In particular, cover crops and low-disturbance manure injection have proven extremely effective in reducing phosphorus loss from farm fields while increasing soil health and crop yields.

“The cost-share program has been effective in encouraging farmers in the watershed to try new things to benefit water quality,” said Jeff Endres, YPF chairman. “These techniques have become best-management practices for the farmers who have tried them. We would love to see additional farmers participate for the first time.”

Enrollment is simple. Go to yaharapridefarms.org, complete the 2020 cost share enrollment form and return it by mail. YPF will follow up when forms are received to determine if any changes or adjustments are needed. A nutrient management plan must be submitted for any acres enrolled in the program and cost-share checks are distributed at the YPF March Watershed-Wide Conference, schedule for Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

YPF is committed to collecting and analyzing data from the cost-share program. This past July, YPF released the 2019 Phosphorus Report documenting that farmers in the program reduced phosphorus delivery to the Madison lakes and the Yahara River by 29,365 lbs. Since 2012, farmers in the program have documented a total phosphorus savings of over 97,000 lbs.

The 2020 YPF cost-share program includes:

  • Strip tillage: $15/acre, up to 100 acres (max. payment of $1,500/farm)
  • Low disturbance manure injection: $20 per acre, up to 100 acres (max. payment $2,000/farm)
  • Cover crops – 3 options 
    • ​​​​​​​$50/acre, up to 100 acres of over-wintering crops
    • $30/acre, up to 50 acres of nonover-wintering crops
    • NEW – Deferred fall killing of alfalfa until spring: $30/acre, up to 50 acres
  • Deep tillage plus Low disturbance deep and cover crop planting: $55 per acre, up to 50 acres
  • Winter headland stacking (*Requires spreading manure in spring/summer for stacked manure): $8/yard, up to 500 yards
  • Composting manure (*Must be spring/summer spread on non-frozen ground): $12/yard, up to 500 yards
  • Stacking of multiple cost-share practices resulting in additional PI reduction vs. individual practice performance: $25/acre, up to 100 acres
  • NEW – Adding grass to alfalfa (hay) seedings or seeding grass forage mixtures (alternatives to pure alfalfa stands) on highly erodible land: $25/acre, up to 50 acres

​​​​​​​A nutrient management plan must be submitted for any acres enrolled in the program. All payments are subject to funding availability.