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Chicago Wilderness Alliance’s Café: WI Farmer-Led Watershed Councils & Lessons for IL

This cafe will show attendees how farmers in the two neighboring states are adopting effective methods to improve performance in the shared goal of reducing nutrient runoff into the Mississippi River watershed.  In recent years, members of the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership have looked at the State of Wisconsin-funded, farmer-led watershed program as something to be replicated.   That may now be possible as a result of the Illinois General Assembly’s 2023 passage of a new farm conservation funding program (Senate Bill 1701).

The two Wisconsin presenters will speak to their experiences with some of the 43 watershed councils funded statewide in 2023.   Wisconsin Farmers Union’s Tara Daun facilitates four farmer-led watersheds in western Wisconsin—Hay River, Horse Creek, Dry Run, & South Kinnickinnic.  Tony Peirick farms along the northwestern outskirts of metropolitan Milwaukee in Dodge County which is located just beyond Waukesha County and the start of the Fox River.  Tony travels far and wide inspiring farmers to work together to share ideas and resources for improving soil health and water quality.

The third presenter,  Michael Woods, became Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts on January 8.  An agricultural educator and conservation leaders with a thirst for innovation and change management, Dr. Woods previously served a three-year stint as manager of the Natural Resources Division for the Illinois Department of Agriculture.   His many achievements for the State include the establishment of AIM Illinois to increase on-the-ground farm conservation, tell the story of innovators, and provide resources for teachers to pique student interest in natural resource management as a way of life and/or career path. The AIM Illinois multi-media newsletter reported here on CWA’s Growing With Ag Kane County Field Day last summer.

  • Event Date & Time

    February 22, 2024 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CST

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