Water Heroes: Craig and Matthew Oehmichen of Short Lane Ag Supply

“[We aim] to stop soil erosion while keeping farmers’ fields profitable and water clean.”
Big Eau Pleine Watershed
Colby, W

How do you work to protect Wisconsin’s waters?
On our own farm we practice spring tillage/no-till, reducing soil erosion with cover crops and waterways, use resource conserving crop rotations, frequent soil testing to keep track on soil health and phosphorus amounts, and prescriptive fertilizer applications so we are not over applying nutrients.

At our business we keep up to date on the latest in products, techniques and technologies in water/soil conservation to reduce run-off and make our customers’ acres the best they can be. We work with agencies like Clark/Marathon Land Conservation, NRCS, and DATCP with Nutrient Management Planning.

We are also sponsor/partners for the newly formed watershed group, the Eau Pleine Partnership for Integrated Conservation (EPPIC).

What are your biggest concerns right now?
It’s the lack of resources and common sense. The problems are clear, but the solutions are ill-funded, implemented, and enforced through our state/federal agencies and conservation organizations. Our energy, right now, is on working with our customers and state/federal agencies to find new approaches and—importantly—implementation to stop soil erosion while keeping farmers’ fields profitable and water clean. We will stay active with groups, like EPPIC and Central No-Tillers, as well as federal/state agencies to promote and enact preventative soil erosion measures.

What keeps you strong and inspired in the face of challenges?
As young kids our dad would always say “the worst thing you can do is nothing,” which resonates in our lives and our drive to see things to completion. (And coffee. Coffee doesn’t need an explanation; it’s damn delicious fuel.)

What’s your favorite “water spot” in Wisconsin?
For Matthew:
Though I am a frequent visitor of Madeline Island on Lake Superior and Rock Island on Lake Michigan, I cannot deny my love for the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. When I float my canoe and knife my paddle into its waters the rich history of “America’s Hardest Working River” come to my mind and how this river has influenced the development of our state’s communities and industries. As I wade into its waters and ready my fly rod for an awaiting smallmouth bass, or unexpected muskellunge, it brings another perspective: our waters are a privilege. If we are all to enjoy our state waters with our children—and their children’s children—we need to realize that our actions will dictate the condition of the creatures, the countless people, and the businesses that thrive due to our state waters. Just because rivers, lakes and streams are there now doesn’t mean they will be forever. If you love the water, it’s important to not only show it, but to act on it.

For Craig: The Eau Pleine Flowage is a good one. I enjoy that spot for  fishing and recreation with my family.

More information:
Short Lane Ag Supply, LLC

Learn about other Water Heroes in Wisconsin:
River Alliance Water Heroes – 2018