Yahara Pride Farms, agricultural affiliate of Clean Lakes Alliance
Yahara Pride Farms is the agricultural affiliate of the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA). The Clean Lakes Alliance is a not-for-profit organization devoted to improving the water quality of the lakes, streams, and wetlands of the Yahara River watershed. They are a unique partnership of diverse stakeholders who are building on — and expanding upon — decades of ongoing efforts to preserve and restore our waterways. Rural water quality improvement actions of CLA are implemented via Yahara Pride Farms through agricultural best management practices and educational demonstrations. To learn more about CLA, please visit: www.cleanlakesalliance.com
The Clean Lakes Alliance has supported and continues to support Yahara Pride Farms through the following:
- Recruited a group of progressive farmers and agribusiness affiliates to create the YPF board, which was officially established in February 2011.
- Supports the YPF board and works to sustain the organization.
- Leads the development of the organization by connecting it with major funding partners including Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, the McKnight Foundation, Yahara WINs and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
- Provides YPF with marketing and financial administration support including the production of the “Forward Farmer” newsletter and website.
- Hired and continues to support two Farm Resource Managers who serve as field consultants for farmers.
- Donates two full-time staff members to assist with the outreach and communication of the organization as well as supplies for events and the production of newsletters and other outreach materials
Yahara Pride Farms began working with UW-Extension in the summer of 2013 to organize a fall 2013 Cover Crop Test plot in the northern part of the Yahara watershed. The Cover Crop Test Plot has been implemented to identify the following effects of using cover crops after silage harvest and manure application as well as after silage:
- Future yield
- Nutrient holding capacity of soil
- Runoff reduction
The purpose of this study is to identify the best seed types/seed type combinations, planting times and planting rates for the Yahara watershed. This information is imperative for educating our watershed on which cover crops will maximize conservation and economic benefits.
UW-Extension’s Crops & Soils Agent Heidi Johnson has been an essential key to recording cover crop plot data. Heidi will continue to collect data into the spring. Once all data has been collected, she will analyze it to help determine the most economic and environmentally beneficial cover crop types/mixes and planting dates for our watershed.
Yahara WINs (Watershed Improvement Network) is a collaborative effort of over 30 partners working on an adaptive management pilot project in the Yahara watershed. Our partnership with Yahara WINs began in 2013 because of our similar goal in working towards improving water quality in the watershed.
Yahara WINs provides Yahara Pride Farms with tremendous support through funding, which is being put towards implementing conservation practices in the Yahara watershed. This funding has helped Yahara Pride Farms provide a cost-share program to farmers. A few of the conservation practices supported through the cost-share program include planting cover crops, providing tillage technology and vertical manure injection trials.
Through funding these conservation practices, Yahara WINs helps Yahara Pride Farms enhance educational outreach to area farmers. This partnership has been vital in gaining farmer participation to improve water quality in the Yahara Watershed.