FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Yahara Pride Farms (YPF) is pleased to announce the release of their 2019 annual Phosphorus Reduction Report. This report details results of phosphorus reduction efforts delivered to nearby surface waters by farmers in the Yahara watershed in 2019. For seven years, YPF has been measuring on-farm results; 2019 marks the fourth year an annual summary report has been compiled and results shared.
YPF documented an impressive 29,000 pounds of phosphorus delivery reduction in 2019, a 25% increase over 2018. In the seven years YPF has administered phosphorus reduction reporting, over 97,000 pounds of phosphorus has been removed. Aided, in part, by cost-share dollars, farmers have recognized the importance of and made changes to their farm practices to make a significant difference in the watershed.
“Farmers in the Yahara watershed take their commitment to improving water quality and environmental sustainability seriously, said Jeff Endres, a dairy farmer from Waunakee, Wis. and chairman of YPF. “Despite a challenging ag economy, farmers continue to persevere while implementing new conservation practices and alternative farming systems to reduce phosphorus and sediment loss.”
Highlights of the report include:
- A commitment by farmers to reduce soil loss and phosphorus to the Madison chain of lakes.
- Documentation about how specific farming practices are reducing phosphorus.
- All data is compiled and reported on from farms in the Yahara watershed.
- This report exemplifies the commitment agriculture maintains to addressing nutrient loss.
- More than 29,000 pounds of phosphorus reduction in 2019.
- There are barriers to water quality in Dane County, such as legacy phosphorus, that is beyond farmer’s control and being addressed with the help of public-private partnerships.
In 2019, six practices were promoted by YPF: Cover crops, low disturbance deep tillage with cover crops, low disturbance manure injection, strip tillage, headland stacking of manure and the combination of two or more practices. The report details phosphorus delivery reduction achieved, along with the number of acres and cost per pound of phosphorus reduction for each practice. The conservation techniques endorsed by YPF have been adopted as best-management practices for farmers in this program and area. Notably, for each practice, the number of acres without cost-share far exceeds the number of acres covered by cost-share.
The YPF board of directors and resource managers are available for group presentations and individual questions. The complete report and executive summary are available for free download at yaharapridefarms.org.
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 practices 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. In 2019, farmers in the program reduced phosphorus delivery to Madison lakes and the Yahara River by over 29,000 pounds. For more information, visit yaharapridefarms.org.
Cover crop planting– Cover crops reduce the amount of soil erosion by wind and water. They also improve the soil’s ecosystem by increasing biodiversity and soil organic matter content.
Compost turning– The nitrogen in compost is less soluble, making it less likely to be washed out and into ground and surface water.
Low-disturbance manure injection– Surface applications of manure have been shown to increase nitrogen and phosphorus runoff to rivers and streams, while injection/incorporation places manure below the surface where it doesn’t interact with runoff water during storms.