Keith Foye, who has spent his entire 38-year career working with soil and water conservation, has been chosen to lead the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's natural resources programs.
Foye, of Sauk City, has been named director of the department's Bureau of Land and Water Resources.
"I'm pleased that Keith has accepted this position," said John Petty, administrator of DATCP's Agricultural Resource Management Division, which houses the bureau. "Keith has a broad and deep understanding of the bureau's programs and activities, having served in the bureau since 1988. He is uniquely suited for this job because of his knowledge, the relationships he has developed over the years, and the respect he has garnered in the agency and among our conservation partners."
The Bureau of Land and Water Resources is responsible for programs including farmland preservation, agricultural enterprise areas, livestock siting, conservation reserve enhancement (CREP), drainage districts and agricultural impact statements.
Another major part of the bureau's work is the soil and water resource management program, which provides funding and engineering assistance to local conservation authorities and cost-sharing to farmers for on-farm conservation practices.
The bureau's partners include county conservation offices, town and county planning and zoning offices, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency, and the Land and Water Conservation Board.
Foye began his career in 1976 as the county conservationist in Clark County, where he worked with soil erosion control, animal waste management, watershed protection and flood control and other natural resource-related programs.
In 1988, he joined DATCP as a planning analyst in the land and water bureau, and in 1992 was promoted to chief of the bureau's land management section. In that capacity, he worked extensively with soil and water resource management, farmland preservation, and CREP programs.
Foye has received eight exceptional performance awards from DATCP over the years, and was also recognized by the USDA FSA with an achievement award for his work implementing the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, a $240 million federal-state-local partnership to protect water quality and wildlife habitat on 100,000 acres in Wisconsin.
He also wrote a successful grant application for $650,000 from NRCS to develop best management practices for reducing odors from livestock operations, and oversaw development of ATCP 49, the administrative rule governing the Farmland Preservation Program. He has been instrumental in numerous revisions of ATCP 50, the rule governing soil and water programs, including agricultural performance standards.
"I'm honored to have this opportunity to lead the bureau where I've worked all these years," Foye said. "The staff in the Bureau of Land and Water Resources and our partners from local offices up to federal agencies are dedicated to protecting Wisconsin's natural resources and keeping land in farming for future generations. Wisconsin has been a leader in conservation since the earliest days back in the 1930s, and I'm happy to be part of that tradition."
Foye assumed his duties Jan. 13. He succeeds Kathy Pielsticker, who retired late in 2013.