The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS), and Calumet County Land & Water Conservation Department, in partnership with Fond du Lac, Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties have entered an agreement to launch a new network, the Between the Lakes Demonstration Farm Network. This is the fifth demonstration farm network in Wisconsin that NRCS has collaborated with conservation partners to establish. The partnership will support a network of farms that will demonstrate the best conservation practices to reduce phosphorus entering the Great Lakes basin. Funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is being utilized for this effort.
This partnership will address the effectiveness of current conservation systems used to reduce nonpoint source pollution. The network will demonstrate to farmers and the public that the right combination of traditional conservation practices and other new, innovative technologies functioning on the landscape can produce viable and sustainable economic and environmental benefits.
“Through this collaboration and funding, we can publicly highlight the most effective conservation systems that have the greatest environmental and economic benefit; we’re excited to be partnering to now establish our fifth series of demonstration farm networks,” said USDA-NRCS State Conservationist for Wisconsin Angela Biggs. “This project will accelerate the adoption of environmentally sustainable farming practices by demonstrating their successful use on the participating demonstration farms. Farmers and agronomists that attend the field days will be learning the “nuts and bolts” of how to make these practices successful on other area farms,” said Steve Hoffman, Project Manager for the Between the Lakes Demonstration Farms Network.
Sheboygan Harbor, April 2019
The Demo Farms’ mission is to demonstrate the effectiveness and adaptability of conservation practices to reduce erosion and sedimentation, control phosphorus runoff, and address other nonpoint source pollution issues. Additionally, Between the Lakes Demo Farms is measuring the feasibility of implementing conservation practices on farms in East-Central Wisconsin.
To create a culture that encourages collaborative efforts to restore soil health and reduce runoff pollution, improve water quality, and support a strong regional economy.
The Between the Lakes Demo Farms’ objectives are to:
- Establish demonstration farms within the Manitowoc and Sheboygan River Basins to test new and standard conservation systems in reducing phosphorus and sediment.
- Establish an efficient mechanism to share this technology and information with farmers, agribusiness, conservation agencies, and the public.
- Create opportunities for others to test their research and program ideas at the demonstration farms.
- Share information and lessons learned from the Demo Farms throughout the Great Lakes basin.