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Yahara Pride Farms and the cost of conservation

Farm field and tractor

A message from Yahara Pride Farms on land and conservation efforts

By Jeff Endres, Yahara Pride Farms

Despite a challenging start to the season, the hot, dry weather in July helped crops in Dane County catch up to where they needed to be. We have our fingers crossed for a pleasant fall so that we may have a bountiful harvest and weather conducive for appropriate nutrient application.

Conservation as a long-term investment

Budgets are tight for most farmers. Many of the conservation practices endorsed by Yahara Pride Farms are long-term investments. However, there are some conservation practices that are not as costly, and can still make a big impact.

Budget-friendly conservation practices like buffer strips are permanent vegetation designed to slow water runoff and reduce soil erosion. Most farms have at least one field that would benefit from buffer strips. And at the end of the day, every conservation effort helps make a difference in protecting the water we all share.

Yahara Pride Farms - Aerial Seeding
Airplane seeds cover crops to reduce winter runoff. Photo courtesy Yahara Pride Farms.

Balancing profit and the environment

Since 2012, the Yahara Pride Farms board of directors has worked hard to create programs that balance environmental stewardship with farm sustainability and profitability. Yahara Pride Farms has created a mechanism to recognize conservation on the farm, reward farmers for good stewardship, track collective progress in conservation, and demonstrate watershed advancement. We know we need to continue to earn the trust of farmers and citizens alike in our watershed. We have shared our efforts with the public and made Yahara Pride Farms a recognizable brand in Dane County and beyond.

Low disturbance manure injector available for rent - this allows farmers to try conservation techniques and reduce financial risk
Low disturbance manure injector

As we all do our best to streamline costs, improve efficiencies, and work collaboratively for clean water, we encourage farmers to find ways to implement conservation practices on their farms.

Cost-sharing

The Yahara Pride Farms cost-share program is one way to reduce financial risk. We have several pieces of equipment for rent—thanks in part to Clean Lakes Alliance. The equipment allows farmers to try conservation techniques like low disturbance manure injection or strip till. Farmers no longer need to own or lease the equipment themselves.

This fall, if you see a yellow plane buzzing the skies over farm fields in Dane County, give a wave! The airplane is probably seeding cover crops on a farm participating in Yahara Pride Farms programs.

Note: Clean Lakes Alliance founded and incubated Yahara Pride Farms. To date, Clean Lakes Alliance has invested more than $500,000 to help expand the group’s reach and impact. Read about more Clean Lakes Alliance accomplishments.

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