MINNEAPOLIS — With a goal of supporting farmers to better understand soil health and conservation practices, a unique field day will be held on Friday, Aug. 27 starting at 10 am at New Columbia Acres in Boyceville, WI, near Menomonie. “Conservation Connections: An introduction to NRCS resources and programs,” is open to farmers and landowners of all experience levels, especially beginning, and will provide information and resources as well as opportunities to connect with conservation professionals from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“Farmers Jim and Sarah Paquette of New Columbia Acres will take us on a detailed farm tour and share how NRCS has provided technical and financial help through programs such as EQIP for implementing conservation-based farm practices that protect soil and water quality,” shares Mariann Holm, a Conservation Connector on the project team and organic farmer and inspector herself. “The Paquettes will also share their inspiring story of transitioning from military and civilian service to farming and how their leadership launching the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Wisconsin is helping to raise the next generation of farmers and food leaders in America.”
The farm tour will showcase pigs and poultry raised on pasture, with the Paquettes discussing the impact mentors can have, planning a farm budget, and work/life balance. John Sippl and Brittany Siehr with Dunn County NRCS will be on-site conservation experts for questions and funding connections. Additional partners include the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Wisconsin, Menomonie Market Food Co-op and Wisconsin Farmers Union.
The event takes place from 10 am to 12 pm. Please bring your own picnic lunch. Parking is limited so carpooling is greatly appreciated.
“We appreciate the opportunity to open up our farm like this and have the ability to share our beginning farmer experience. We love that we are also providing a space for farmers to connect with each other,” explains Sarah Paquette. “Agency resources like NRCS and other mentors have played an important role in our farm journey and we’re excited to create this opportunity for others.”
This field day is part of Conservation Connections, a new project led by Renewing the Countryside (RTC) and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA) in partnership with NRCS with a mission to support historically underserved farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin and build connections between these farmers and resource support. The project uniquely utilizes a “boots in the field” team of twelve Connectors, including Holm, to assist these farmers to tap into information and opportunities that support conservation and soil health to create a more successful farm business.
“Conservation Connections provides support to historically underserved farmer groups including African Americans, Asian, Latino, Indigenous, veterans and beginning farmers,” shares Jan Joannides, executive director of Renewing the Countryside and lead on this project. “Our goal is to use farmer-to-farmer education like this field day to help expand awareness of programs and resources available through the NRCS that foster more successful farm businesses and at the same time steward the land.”
The event is free to attend and all farmers and landowners are welcome, especially beginning farmers. Please register at https://www.renewingthecountryside.org/conservation_connections; walk-ins also welcome. Farm location: N8849 State Rd 25 Boyceville WI 54725. Event will follow current COVID-19 protocols from both CDC and Wisconsin protocols. Any questions please email Mariann Holm at email@example.com.
Renewing the Countryside is a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen rural areas by championing and supporting rural communities, farmers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, activists and other people who are renewing the countryside through sustainable and innovative initiatives, businesses, and projects. The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota advances environmental stewardship, economic resilience and strong, diverse communities through farmer-to-farmer networking, education, demonstration and research. This project is made possible with funding support from NRCS.
Click the link for a flyer: Conservation Connections – New Columbia – Aug 27 Field Day
— Renewing the Countryside