LANSING — From education to implementation, farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin are working to protect water quality while producing food, fuel, and fiber.
- Thousands of farmers have flocked to an annual field day for more than two decades, The Center for Excellence in Lenawee County, which showcases practices and technology to help farmers protect the environment.
- To determine water quality on a farm in Hillsdale County, Jay Williams, a farmer leader in his community, has been participating in a water collection and testing program for several years and chooses to share those results with other farmers at a field day hosted at his farm. Now the U.S. Geological Survey has added monitoring and sampling on his farm to help make the data set more complete.
- The Erb Family Foundation has helped farmers post signs in southern Michigan fields to point out best management practices being utilized by those farmers.
- Lenawee County Farm Bureau and Lenawee Conservation District partnered to host a water quality forum in January to discuss Lake Erie and River Raisin issues, and to highlight the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program used by hundreds of farmers in the Western Lake Erie watershed and thousands of farmers statewide.
- Monroe and Washtenaw County Drain Commissioners participated in a pilot program to offer drain project discounts to farmers who install and maintain vegetated buffers along those drains, and that project has now been launched statewide in 2020.
- The River Raisin Watershed Council has helped organized a farmer-led water quality initiative, in which farmers can gather for “shop talks” to share and demonstrate conservation practices to protect water quality.
Farmers care about protecting Lake Erie and are taking active steps to learn what they can do on their own farms to sharpen their stewardship abilities and together strengthen agriculture’s part in protecting water quality. Michigan Farm Bureau is a proud MI CLEAR partner and supports Michigan farmers.
This article is being sent as a public service on behalf of the Michigan Cleaner Lake Erie through Action and Research (MI CLEAR) partnership.
— Laura Campbell, Ecology Manager, Michigan Farm Bureau
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