Wisconsin’s Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant program was introduced in the 2015-2017 Wisconsin state budget, designed to provide funding to farmers willing to lead conservation efforts in watersheds. The first round of grants totaling $242,550 was awarded to 14 producer-led groups. The program has continued to grow, with the 2019-2021 budget authorizing annual program funding totaling $750,000. Thirty groups of farmers were awarded that full amount of funding in November 2020.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection administers the program. It provides funding to producer-led groups that focus on nonpoint-source pollution-abatement activities.
“The goal for the program is to improve Wisconsin’s soil and water quality by supporting and advancing producer-led conservation solutions to increase on-the-ground practices and farmer participation in these efforts,” said Rachel Rushmann, producer-led-program manager in the ag department’s Division of Agricultural Resource Management.
To be eligible for the grant program each producer group must have at least five farmers and work with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as well as a county land-conservation committee, the University of Wisconsin-Division of Extension or a nonprofit-conservation organization.
Agri-View is pleased to be launching frequent updates from Wisconsin’s Producer-Led Watershed-Protection groups. The goal is to highlight what the groups are doing to improve soil and water in their respective areas as well as how they’re engaging with fellow farmers and other agricultural professionals, conservationists and the public.