Wisconsin’s farmer-led watershed grants likely smaller this year

An Extension coordinator for Wisconsin’s farmer-led watershed groups says more groups will mean less funding for some.

Anna James tells Brownfield there are now 43 funded farmer-led groups this year. “There’s more popularity within the program. There are more new groups who are applying for funding, and so the existing groups are trying to figure out how they’re going to make their little piece of pie fit as much as what they can.”

The state legislature provided one million dollars in funding for 2023, but the total requests added up to 1.52 million dollars.  James says the groups will likely end up with smaller grants as that funding is spread out among more watersheds. “They’re definitely going to have to just switch up ways that they’re utilizing their funding, and we’re making room for the new groups which is fantastic.”

The funding helps farmer-led watershed groups try different conservation practices and tools, and then share the knowledge gained with other farmers, conservation groups, and the public.

James says Extension and the state are encouraging farmers to start more farmer-led watershed groups by contacting local land and water conservation offices or the farmer-led watershed regional contacts at the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection website.

Anna James discusses Wisconsin’s farmer-led watershed group expansion and funding with Brownfield’s Larry Lee during the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association education conference.

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