New Council Formed to Help Improve Local Watershed

Local farmers are helping to protect and improve water quality in the Shell Lake and Yellow River watershed through a farmer-led watershed council. The council consists of nine local farmers and the council’s mission is “working as a non-profit organization to improve soil health and water quality through outreach, education, and conservation practices that improve sustainable agriculture”.

This year’s plan includes the topics of no-till, cover crops, rotational grazing, nutrient management, and how these practices work in our local growing and soil conditions. The farmer-led council plans to offer on-farm field days showcasing conservation practices and a workshop at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station featuring cover crops, nitrogen management research, and organic weed management options in soybeans. The farmer-led council has plans to recruit additional farmers during the coming year.  Meetings and events are open to everyone, so if you are interested in learning more about conservation practices, soil health incentives, on-farm demonstrations, and the council’s plans and activities please contact the council to be notified of upcoming events.

The farmer-led council was formed after Washburn County Land Conservation department successfully applied for a Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant for $15,600 through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The council is supported in its work by Extension Washburn County, Burnett & Washburn County Land and Water Conservation Department, Northwest Wisconsin Graziers Network, USDA-NRCS, and Wisconsin DNR.  These organizations are adding their support by providing technical personnel and matching funds.

One of the practical challenges faced by modern agriculture is developing economically sustainable methods of growing food while enhancing soil and water resources. This “grass roots” effort should provide local farmer leadership and results helpful to Washburn and Burnett county communities while protecting our natural resources.

For further information please contact any one of the following individuals: council member, Bob Pederson, 715-520-7888, Washburn County Land Conservation Department, Brent Edlin, 715-468-4654, or Extension Washburn County Natural Resources Educator, Madeline Roberts, 715-635-4444.