Clear Water Farms Commitment
Clear Water Farms Commitment
Building a network of farmers committed to water quality protection
Making the commitment
There’s already a lot of good work being done by farms across the state to make water protection a priority in the way that they farm. River Alliance favors a holistic approach to regenerative agriculture that prioritizes both water protection and thriving rural communities. Farming can be an engine for environmental protection if producers are committed to making water quality a central feature of the way they operate.
We support farmers committed to water quality. We are building a collaborative network among conservation farming groups and the River Alliance network of local river and lake associations.
River Alliance invites farmers to fill out this brief Clear Water Farms Commitment outlining their commitment to water protection, what they’re doing, and what they hope to do in the future. We want them to be part of our River Rat community.
You can print out the Commitment document, fill it out, and mail it to us at:
River Alliance of Wisconsin
612 W Main St. STE 200
Madison, WI 53703
After we get to know each other, we will add your farm to our list of Clear Water Farms, share your good work with our members, and highlight stories of leadership. We want to inspire our members across the state to advocate for their local farmers who are making a difference, and to show farmers who are on the fence about water protection that the public wants Wisconsin farms to protect our water.
Contact Michael Tiboris, Clear Water Farms Director at 608-257-2424 x125 or email Michael at [email protected].
Jason Cavadini is operating on a different time scale in a lot of ways. He takes direction from the land and his animals, and after you talk to him a while it feels crazy that anyone would approach farming any other way. In 2014, Jason, his wife Jocelyn, and her father, Dan, partnered to form Cavern Point Farm near Marshfield. They practice low-input rotational grazing to raise a small herd of beef heifers on 80 acres of perennial pasture. The Cavadinis have carved out a pretty marvelous playground for their five kids that feels a lot like Wisconsin farms did generations ago.
The low cost of production—the cattle harvest their own food and spread their own manure—was a big attraction for farming this way, but they are also deeply committed to the environmental benefits it produces. The pasture protects water quality because the soil structure is excellent. The cattle, mostly black and red angus, largely maintain themselves. The healthy pasture and forest land they manage provides wildlife habitat.
Jason also works as Assistant Superintendent and Agronomist at the University of Wisconsin’s Marshfield Ag Research Station. So he knows that there’s hard science behind the idea that profitable farming can be environmental protection. Cavern Point’s model of farming looks almost nothing like most larger farms do, and yet it’s a mode of production that dominated Wisconsin’s landscape until relatively recently.
Cavern Point is very consciously “breaking the cycle,” as Jason puts it. Larger and less regenerative farming practices have to increasingly invest more and more energy and money to repair the damage to their soil, water, and habitat. The benefits of this are apparent to anyone who sets foot on his farm, which he’d encourage you to do.
“A lot of us in Wisconsin still have some sort of connection to the farm,” he says, “this style of agriculture, with livestock on pastures, small farms selling directly to customers … helps people feel a connection to their rural roots.”
Whether we see more farms like Cavern Point in Wisconsin depends on the rest of us taking the time to understand where our food comes from. “There’s no better way to have assurance of the food that you’re putting on your table than to know the farm that it’s coming from and to know what kind of methods they use,” he says. “Take the time to connect with the farmers and to pay a fair price that really supports the farmers and keeps them on the land … It’s a win for the land.”