Lodi River Rat Chat and Schoepp Family Farms visit
For our River Rat Chat on August 16, we spent a pleasant evening at Schoepp Family Farms overlooking Lake Wisconsin. During the event, we talked with our members and farmers from the Sauk Soil and Water Improvement Group about the challenges facing water protection in the current agricultural economy and what the farmers who are most committed to improvement want to see happen.
This was a big help for setting our sights on what transformative change in agriculture might mean as we develop our Wisconsin Agriculture Agenda.
Our state has to balance two important realities about agriculture. Forty percent of Wisconsin’s land is farmland and agriculture is a major part of our economy and our heritage. But it’s also the largest source of nutrient pollution issues in drinking water and surface waters like lakes and rivers.
When we have conversations with farmers like those who are involved with farmer-led watershed groups around the state, we hear practical solutions to the water pollution problems we face. When we see the soil management demonstrations like the one Sauk County showed us at the River Rat Chat, it’s clear that farming practices like rotational grazing and diverse cover crops can make our state’s soil and water healthier. But this kind of farming needs support from our state’s leaders.
As we head into our 30th anniversary year, River Alliance is doing more to listen to farmers and watershed protection groups who want a better agricultural future. They give us a better understanding of the systemic challenges that make it difficult for farmers to make big strides in water protection and stay profitable. We’re committed to working with them to change this by asking “What sort of food system in Wisconsin would make our water cleaner?” When we lead with that question, we can shift our policy, economy, and farm practices to a more sustainable future.
It’s conversations like the one we had for our River Rat Chat in Lodi that are shaping our Wisconsin Agricultural Agenda. We will share updates about this vision for the future of agriculture and water protection in upcoming Word on the Stream e-newsletters.
– Mike Tiboris, Clear Water Farms Director
This message is made possible by generous donors who believe people have the power to protect and restore water. Become a member of River Alliance of Wisconsin today.