Agriculture & Water Stewardship

Farmers and consumers working for cleaner water in Wisconsin.

Farming is a definitive part of Wisconsin culture and history. Almost all of us have some personal connection to farms and farmers.

We cannot protect public health and the natural environment without considering farming’s impacts on our shared water resources.

River Alliance of Wisconsin collaborates with farmers, processors, and consumers to change our food system’s effects on water.

Photo courtesy Matthew O.

Farmer-led groups are Watershed Groups

River Alliance of Wisconsin has always been there for the many local river and lake groups throughout the state. They are the power behind water protection because they are led by local people who are passionate about protecting water. The dozens of farmer-led watershed groups that have formed over the last few years are no different. We’re there for them too.

The Clear Water Farms Program engages these groups directly with the aim of strengthening them and building lasting ties between them and other local river, lake, and watershed groups. 

We provide support for their programs, build their organizational capacity and visibility, hold events together, identify farmer leaders and share their ideas, help with farm water quality certifications, and advocate for their interests. Most importantly, we’re connecting these groups to non-farm groups to help educate our members about what conservation agriculture can do and how they can support it. At the same time, we’re showing farmers that we care about the effort they put into protecting our water.

How can you participate?

If you’re a farmer, join the Clear Water Farms Commitment! We’re asking farmers to share their achievements, goals, and commit to water stewardship through farming. River Alliance will share your stories, help you get recognition for the work you’ve done, and think about how to make your operation a force for water protection.


Click here to find a watershed group (including a farmer-led group) where you live.

Hear the latest on our agricultural water activism.

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We Need Transformational Change in Agriculture – A New Ag Agenda for Wisconsin

There’s a lot of good work being done in Wisconsin to change agricultural practices to better protect our water. We know because we collaborate with the amazing farmers who are doing it. However, it is clear that our basic approach to controlling agricultural water pollution is not working. Even if they were fully funded and implemented, cover-crops, no-till agriculture, and nutrient management planning would not be enough to reach our environmental and public health goals. The farm economy as it currently exists still largely treats protecting water as a threat to business.


We can’t keep doing the same thing and hoping for different results. We need a new approach. Environmental protection should become an essential element of what makes someone a successful farmer. This would put farmers, who are the closest to our land and water on a daily basis, in the driver’s seat of water protection.

What would our food system designed to protect water and public health look like? How could it function to achieve these goals while providing a sustainable living for farmers and thriving rural communities?

The Clear Water Farms program is developing new collaborative research and policy guidance to help envision this future – and how we could get there together. Stay tuned for this follow up to our Wisconsin Water Agenda.


Contact Michael Tiboris, Clear Water Farms Director at
608-257-2424 x125 or email Michael.


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