MINNEAPOLIS — With a goal of supporting farmers to better understand soil health and conservation practices, two pasture walks will enable farmers, especially beginning farmers, to ask questions and learn from the experience of other farmers. The first event on September 30 will take place from 1 to 3 pm at Three Brothers Farm in Oconomowoc, WI and the second pasture walk at Little Red Farms on Wednesday October 6 from 5 to 7 pm. These field days, “Personal support for accessing NRCS programs and resources,” are open to farmers and landowners of all experience levels, especially beginning, and will provide information and resources as well as opportunities to connect with resources from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“These two unique events will enable farmers to share their land stewardship experiences and ways they have built soil health and grew their grazing operations through tapping into NRCS programs like EQIP for implementing conservation-based farm practices that protect soil and water quality,” shares Kirsten Jurcek, a Conservation Connector on the project team and owner of Brattset Family Farm, a grazing beef operation in Jefferson. “The events are free to attend and folks are welcome to come to either one or both.”
“We’re looking forward to sharing our experiences with other farmers on September 30 about how we rotationally graze our pastured poultry and sheep flock as well as custom grazing dairy heifers,” shares Michael Gutschenritter, who runs Three Brothers Farm with his wife, Courtney Gutschenritter. “NRCS resources have been helpful to us in seeding additional pasture acreage and extending our water lines to maximize the grazing system we developed.”
“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 Steph Brueggen, co-owner of Little Red Farms with her husband, Cody Brueggen “Agency resources like NRCS and other mentors have played an important role in our farm journey and we’re excited to create this environment 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 Jurcek, 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.”
These events are free to attend and all farmers and landowners are welcome, especially beginning farmers. Additional partners include Wisconsin Farmers Union and snacks will be provided. Please register at https://www.renewingthecountryside.org/conservation_connections; or contact Kirsten Jurcek at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 920-342-9504. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Farm location for September 30: Three Brothers Farm, N87W34109 Mapleton Rd, Oconomowoc, WI 53066 . Event location for October 6: Little Red Farms, N87W34109 Mapleton Rd, Oconomowoc, WI 53066. Event will follow current COVID-19 protocols from both CDC and Wisconsin protocols.
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.
— Renewing the Countryside
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