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Yahara Pride Farms
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Ag Innovation Day brings farmers and community together
Waunakee, WI. (August 22, 2016) — On August 16, Yahara Pride Farms welcomed more than 100 guests to the annual Ag Innovation Field Day event. New this year, the Ag Innovation Day was open to farmers, agribusinesses and the general public from across the state. In year’s past, the event was designated for farmers in the Yahara Watershed, but organizer’s wanted to expand the reach of the programs and practices that are applicable to a wide audience.
The day kicked off with lunch, followed by several hours of field demonstrations. Manure was a central topic of the day and attendees had the chance to see dragline and tanker methods of applying manure using Low Disturbance Manure Injection techniques. The group had the opportunity to tour the newly built manure composting facility at Endres Berryridge Farms and learn the science behind the process and the equipment needed to successfully compost manure. Attendees also had the chance to see finished compost applied to a field. The final stop included a detailed cover crop planting demonstration where attendees had the chance to see eight different pieces of equipment plant a Barley-Pea mix on a recently harvested wheat field.
“Field days give farmers a chance to get up close and personal with new techniques and new equipment. The day also allows community members to learn about conservation techniques that their neighbors are using to protect the land, water and air,” said Jeff Endres, chair of Yahara Pride Farms.
After a long, hot day, the group reconvened for dinner and refreshments. Secretary of Agriculture, Ben Brancel delivered the evening keynote and emphasized the importance of farmers learning from farmers. There are so many innovative techniques happening in agriculture. Spreading the word through farmer-led conservation and sustainability initiatives is the best way to increase the adoption of the practices highlighted at the Field Day. Secretary Brancel commended Yahara Pride Farms for their efforts thus far and their future projects.
The main focus of Yahara Pride Farms throughout the year is reducing phosphorus delivery to the Madison chain of lakes and the Yahara River through innovative agriculture techniques including: Low Disturbance Manure Injection, cover crops, waterways and harvestable buffers to name a few. In 2015, farmers in the program reduced phosphorus delivery by 8,642 lbs. Since 2012, farmers have documented a total phosphorus delivery reduction of 15,872 lbs. Yahara Pride Farms has also developed a certification program where farms undergo an extensive voluntary audit process and achieve a specific passing score. In all cases, farms are provided with prioritized feedback on current conservation practices as well as areas for improvement. Yahara Pride Farms has engaged the community, public utilities, environmental groups and agribusiness through a holistic approach to conservation where everyone shares in the successes and areas for learning.
Yahara Pride Farms also wishes to thank the more than 25 organizations who contributed to the field day through sponsorships, grants and in-kind donations. The Ag Innovation Day and the programs offered by Yahara Pride Farms would not be possible without their support.
About Yahara Pride Farms
Established in 2012, Yahara Pride Farms is a farmer-led 501c(3) non-profit organization that strives to preserve agricultural heritage while simultaneously encouraging farmers to engage in proactive environmental stewardship within the Yahara Watershed. Participating farms employ practices that result in the preservation and enhancement of soil and water resources for today, and for generations to come. For more information, visit yaharapridefarms.org.
Editor’s Note: [Photos]
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Compost: Attendees toured the newly built manure composting facility at Endres Berryridge Farms. This process uses manure from a bedded pack combined with liquid manure to create a nutrient dense fertilizer.
Compost Spreading: Finished compost is loaded into a special spreader and applied to a recently cut hay field.
Soil Sampling: A large group gathers as representatives showcase in-field soil sampling technology. These tools eliminate the need to send soil samples to a lab which allows farmers and their agronomists to make informed nutrient management decisions in a quicker timeframe.