Water conservation guide now available to farmers

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
Del Monte maintains a 150-acre field near its Cambria, Wisconsin, plant, where a center-pivot irrigator releases spent wash water in a controlled application.

The Wisconsin Department of Trade, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, the Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance and The Nature Conservancy have partnered to create a roadmap for farmers on successful water conservation.

The guide, "Producer-Led Group Roadmap: Finding Success in Farmer-Led Watershed Organizations," is available on the DATCP website. While the guide is written primarily for those funded by the DATCP's Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant program, it's also useful for other farmers interested in best water conservation practices.

“Farmers are always working to improve in every area of their farm, and we are seeing a growing interest in new conservation practices and the farmer-led watershed group model,” said Lauren Brey, director of strategic partnerships and sustainability for DSSA.

The guide offers tips, guidance and support for maintaining successful soil health and water conservation for long-term sustainability goals. It includes ways to track your progress and measure your success by setting goals, securing funding, tracking practice outcomes, documenting progress, and creating work plans and reports.

The roadmap also serves as a way for farmers to continue innovating in partnership with each other for a common goal of environmental conservation and sustainability. 

“Producer-led groups have been very successful at helping farmers learn which conservation practices are working for each other and how to implement them on their farms to build soil health and protect clean water," said Steve Richter, director of agricultural strategies for The Nature Conservancy.

The Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance was established in 2016 in a joint effort by the Dairy Business Association, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative and The Nature Conservancy, according to a press release.