FENNIMORE and EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Water is one of Wisconsin’s most precious resources, requiring commitment and focus from elected officials, community members, farmers and regulators to ensure that water quality is protected and preserved for generations to come.
The 2019 Water Matters Tours will feature on-farm tours, research presentations and candid conversations to learn about farmer-led initiatives and understand water quality issues affecting both rural and urban areas. The day-long tours will be held June 25 in Fennimore, Wis., and June 26 in Eau Claire, Wis. Each day, busses will depart at 9:00 a.m. and return at 4:00 p.m.
The tours are made possible by a partnership between Professional Dairy Producers®, UW Discovery Farms®, Wisconsin Counties Association and Wisconsin Towns Association.
The June 25 farm tours will focus on techniques used by farmers in Grant County to address special challenges in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin. The tours will depart from Southwest Technical College, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore, Wis.
- At Banner Ridge Farms, the Shea and Roth families use methods such as strip cropping and grass waterways to manage nutrients, use less water and protect water resources.
- Kieler Farms recently completed an expansion with a 50-cow rotary parlor and has implemented a number of practices to reclaim and reuse water in a variety of ways on the 450-cow dairy.
On June 26 farm tours will be held in Pepin and Dunn Counties, where locations in hilly terrain on the banks of the Chippewa River require careful water and land management. The tour will depart from Wis. DOT Park & Ride 18-01, 6547 Texaco Dr, Eau Claire, Wis.
- Tom Brenner of Farm On Dairy plants cover crops or perennials on all forage acres for year-round growing, with a goal of eliminating use of synthetic fertilizer over time.
- At Alfalawn Farm, fourth-generation family dairy farmers Dale, David and Randy Styer milk 2,000 cows in a 60-stall rotary parlor. Environmental sustainability is a top priority, including using each gallon of water 3 to 6 times.
Dr. Mark Borchardt, Research Microbiologist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, will facilitate discussions both days with farm tour hosts and representatives between farm tours and during lunch. Dr. Borchardt will provide an update on a recent well water study from his microbiologist’s perspective. The facilitated dialogue will include dairy farm tour hosts and representatives from county land conservation, health departments and extension resources.
Tours are designed for community members, farmers, educators, local elected officials and media. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. All attendees will travel by tour bus and depart from and return to designated pick-up sites.
To learn more about the 2019 Water Matters Tours and to register, visit www.pdpw.org or contact PDPW at 800-947-7379. Follow along digitally in advance of and during the event by following @dairyPDPW and using #WaterMatters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) is the nation’s largest dairy producer-led organization of its kind, focusing on producer professionalism, stakeholder engagement and unified outreach to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.
For more news from Wisconsin, click here.