By Jesse Cameron MAA By early 2019, cow manure from several dairy farms in northeastern Wisconsin will be turned into fuel for trucks and buses on the West Coast.
DTE Biomass Energy, based in Detroit, is bringing the effort to life as part of a renewable energy initiative. Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, a Dairy Business Association member, is the first partner. Ground was broken for a processing facility earlier this fall at the farm.
It’s seen as a win-win. The farm will reduce its environmental impact, and DTE will do the same by creating renewable natural gas, which burns more cleanly than gasoline or diesel.
“Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts will follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization.” — Daniel Webster
By Tim Froberg MAA No one knows the struggles, hardships and challenges that crop up daily on the farm better than farmers.
That’s why state farmers are working together on an action plan to improve agricultural and conservation practices. While there are multiple farmer-led conservation groups in Wisconsin, they all share a common goal – to protect the precious soil and water in the Badger State for themselves and future generations.
Among those who have made the most progress are Yahara Pride Farms, Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance, the Western Wisconsin Conservation Council and Peninsula Pride Farms. Continue reading “Farmer-led groups focus on conservation”
By MAA DARLINGTON, Wis. — More than 100 farmers, community members and agribusiness professionals came together recently to explore conservation practices and how farmers can make them economically viable.
“We abuse land because we regard it as a
commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” -Aldo Leopold,
Foreword, A Sand
By Leah Call MAA After more than a decade of implementing conservation efforts at Brickstead Dairy in Greenleaf, Wis., fifth-generation farm owner Dan Brick feels optimistic about the land he will someday pass on to his three sons.
“I know my kids are going to have a tough time taking over the farm—hopefully we kind of turned the ship around, improving things going forward,” Brick said. “I can say I gave it my best effort to give my kids the opportunity to farm.”
Last December, Brick’s efforts were recognized when he received the Aldo Leopold Conservation Award, founded by the Sand County Foundation and presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association.
The award, bearing the name of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes farmers throughout the United States for private land stewardship and outstanding conservation practices. Continue reading “Honoring the land”
It’s rare to walk into an urban restaurant or market without being bombarded by signs touting cage-free eggs, pasture-raised beef, or GMO-free wheat. I didn’t always run into “foodie” culture, however. I grew up in Wisconsin, where I spent my summers showing cattle and giving tours of my family’s dairy farms.
Since my departure from home for college two years ago, I’ve lived in Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco. I must admit, it’s still shocking to see how adamant my new urban peers are about food standards considering their lack of connection to the agricultural world. People genuinely believe that their food is better for them and better for the world if its production methods are old-fashioned. I’m going to deconstruct this view: If we’re looking at it from a consequentialist standpoint, modern farming is actually better for everyone — farmers, consumers, animalsand the Earth. Continue reading “Column: No, I don’t want the organic version”
CASCO, Wis. — Farmers and agricultural professionals from Kewaunee County gathered Tuesday morning at a local dairy to voice their commitment to agriculture, the community and the environment.
“We are committed to the belief that agriculture, a strong community and environmentalism can co-exist. Farms are an important part of our local communities,” said Lee Kinnard, the fifth generation of his family to farm in the county. “We take pride in being part of that 1.7 percent of the U.S. population that feeds everyone else in the country and we also take pride in protecting the environment.”
A diverse group representing Wisconsin businesses and landowners have formed a new organization aimed at broadening the discussion about Wisconsin’s fresh water supply and the important role it plays in sustaining and growing the state’s economy.
The Wisconsin Water Alliance (WWA) will advocate for common sense regulations and policies that both help protect the state’s abundant fresh water supplies and foster a science and fact based discussion on water related issues, said Dan Ellsworth, who serves as president of the WWA board and is president and CEO of ANIMART LLC.
“Wisconsin has an abundant supply of freshwater, including deep, replenishing aquifers, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, the Wisconsin River, many other rivers and streams and an estimated 15,000 inland lakes,” he said. “We want to work with policy makers and others who share our commitment in protecting this vital natural resource for generations to come and to also make sure that we can continue to rely on it to help drive the state’s economy.”
Ellsworth added the WWA has as its mission to advocate for sound water policies that benefit current and future generations of Wisconsin families, cities, businesses, and others.
Farmers in Kewaunee and southern Door counties are teaming up with multiple partners to study and demonstrate conservation practices to protect groundwater and surface water in the region.
The Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farm Network is a partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Door and Kewaunee Land Conservation Departments and Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer-led organization. The network was officially launched with a Sept. 7 field day at the Deer-Run Dairy LLC near Kewaunee, one of four farms participating in the network. The other participants include: Augustian Farms LLC in Kewaunee, Brey Cycle Farm LLC in Sturgeon Bay and Kinnard Farms in Casco.
By MaryBeth Matzek
By making changes to their farm practices during the past several years, Yahara Pride Farms members dramatically reduced the amount of phosphorous entering the Yahara River watershed. But while they’ve been successful, members say there is plenty of work left to do.
“Five years ago, we had no idea we would be here,” said Bob Uphoff, owner of Uphoff Ham & Bacon Farm and vice-chair of the Yahara Pride Farms Conservation Board. “As we keep making changes and improvements, who knows where we will be in five years?”
Yahara Pride Farms held its annual watershed-wide conference on March 2 to share information and research on the different steps being taken to decrease the amount of phosphorus in the watershed and to celebrate its successes.