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Cooperative to use USDA grant for conservation education

A dairy group that was awarded a Climate Smart Commodities grant from the USDA this summer plans to use a lot of the money for farmer education. 

Brody Stapel

Brody Stapel is a dairy farmer and president of Edge Dairy Farmers Cooperative.  He says, “There are a lot of practices going on that are not necessarily climate-smart.” Staple tells Brownfield the cooperative has meetings scheduled with USDA on how best to use up to 50 million dollars in grants when the funding arrives. “At the end of the day, when we start to see some of those funds, we’re really trying to continue to build on what we’ve started here and have seen grow in Wisconsin through the farmer-led watershed groups that really takes information from the land, from what farmers are doing, and puts it to public use and for the public’s knowledge.”

Stapel says they will grow programs already in place such as Wisconsin’s farmer-led watershed groups.  He says they’re also looking for more innovative practices on the farm that can be verified and duplicated. “Being able to come onto our member’s farms with staff and measure, because a lot of guys do practices and, yes, I know it works but how do we measure that and how do we translate that to the public.”

Stapel says once grant money is received, they plan to bring on additional staff and also get dollars to the farmers that are taking the high risk of trying new practices.

Stapel spoke to Brownfield during Trade Talk at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention.

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