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Students experience farm conservation

Farmers for the Upper Sugar River recently partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Precollege Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence program. They worked together to help teach high school students about where their food comes from as well as to help them experience what farming’s like, and better understand the link between agriculture and the environment.

The youth program offers students from reduced-income backgrounds the opportunity to complete four weeks of classes on campus each year. Students from eighth-grade to 12th grade are eligible to participate. If they successfully complete each year’s program they receive a full college scholarship.

One of the afternoons was spent at the farm of Dave and Duane Garfoot. They’re brothers and members of Farmers for the Upper Sugar River. The Garfoots raise cattle and crops on more than 300 acres near Mount Vernon in Dane County, Wisconsin. It was the first time most of the 21 students had visited a farm or had seen a cow in person. The Garfoots gave them a tour of the farm. They introduced the students to conservation practices such as contour farming, cover crops, no-till planting, rotational grazing and more. The students were able to climb into the cab of a harvester that would be used to chop wheat the following day.

Dave Garfoot said he was impressed by the questions the students asked about cropping, livestock management, conservation practices and such.

Visit peopleprogram.wisc.edu and uppersugar.org for more information.

Wade Moder is the executive director for the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association. The organization provides administrative services for the Farmers for the Upper Sugar River.

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