A producer-led watershed group that shares and learns from other farmers to be profitable, protect and increase soil functions, and improve water quality in the watershed. We strive to teach other local farmers how to make conservation systems work on their farms to be part of the solution for cleaner water and sustainable farms.

Farmers of the Sugar River

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) awarded a Producer Led Watershed Protection Grant to this group of farmers.  They have been busy teaching other farmers and the public about no till, cover crops and other ways to minimize soil erosion. The structure of the group is that a board of 7 farmers plan events for farmers to learn from.  There are no memberships or dues. Farmers are welcome to join one or all events.  But in order to participate in conservation practice incentive payments, farms must be located within the watershed.

2020 Plans

Roundtable discussion was Jan 22 10:30 at TnD’s in Monticello.  We carpooled to the Cover Crop Conference in Stevens Point February 20.    The annual meeting was held February 26 at the Albany Lion Club with Adam Lasch, Aaron Augustian, and Frank Lessiter as out speakers.  Shop Talk was to be at Jerry & Barb Daniels’ (N1495 CTY OK) on March 19, but had to be cancelled. The summer field day was held at Robert Zurfluh’s farm.  Click here for 2020 cost share application for spring or fall cover crops, planting green (no-tilling), roller crimping, soil health testing and other constructed conservation practices.

2019 Summary

The annual meeting was held March 5th at the Albany Lions Club with speakers Jim Leverich and Ted Bay.  It was centered around economics of no till and cover crops.  60 attendees enjoyed the information that was presented.  This year’s shop talk was held at Helena, north of Monroe, on March 26 and discussion was about sprayers and herbicides.  There was a Summer Field Day August 7 at Truttmann Dairy LLC. The group applied for $25,000 from DATCP in 2019 and has been awarded it.  Most of this money will be awarded to producers in the watershed that try new things on their farm- no till planting a crop they haven’t before, planting cover crops a first or second year or trying a low disturbance manure applicator.

2018 Summary

The group was able to have a logo created to help create a “brand” and have better group recognition.  It features a meandering river of blue, mimicking the Sugar River, with green buffers on both sides of the blue.  Shirts and signs were made to promote the logo and name recognition with the group. Three events were planned and people showed up!  There were over 70 people at the first annual meeting on February 20 at the Albany Lions Club.  Jamie Patton was the keynote speaker and put that days’ downpour of over 2 inches into perspective as to what was happening to the soil when left unprotected.

The DNR gave an update of the condition of the Sugar River and it sounds like it’s doing well.  Two farmers, John Koepke and Lee Kinnard, shared their experiences with no till and cover crops in their area of the state.  Shop Talk was held on March 12 at Dan Roe’s shop, south of Monticello.  31 people came wanting to learn more about drills and planters.  At the Summer Field Day on August 21, hosted by Jerry & Barb Daniels, 60 attendees came to see a soil pit in a standing corn field and to see how different land managements held up in the rainfall simulator.

23 farmers received incentive payments, totaling over $8,700, for planting cover crops in late summer and fall.  Those that received payments planted a total of 2,128 acres.  Cover crops that were planted included broadcasting rye, drilling oats after corn silage, aerial applying rye and radish into standing soybeans and broadcasting wheat onto bean stubble.

Farmers of the Sugar River received a $16,500 grant from Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for 2018, and spent about 75% of it.  The remaining leftover money will carry over into 2019.

Farmers of the Sugar River would like to recognize and thank the generous sponsors that have helped the group be successful.  They include The Bank of New Glarus, Alpine Auto, Pleasant Grain, Jerry & Barb Daniels, Helena, Compeer Financial, L & S Truck Service, Badger State Ethanol, Schwartzlow Fertilizers, Stine & Justin Blum, Baker Precision Planter Works, Al McGuire, MP Services, Colony Brands, New Glarus Brewing Company, Kuhn North America, Super Soy, Albany Lions Club and Insight FS.  The support of these local businesses is appreciated.

Upcoming Events

Virtual Nutrient Management Training @ 2021 Virtual Nutrient Management Training for Farmers
Feb 3 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Virtual training on the background of a Nutrient Management Plan.  Training starts at 10am with breaks built in until 3pm.  Same training offered each day.  Please sign up at least 3 days in advance of the training date you’d like to attend.

Land & Water Conservation Committee Meeting @ Green County Courthouse board room
Feb 4 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Meetings are held monthly on the first Thursday of the month, after the first Wednesday. They are open to the public. They start at 9:30am except during winter months, then they start at 10:00am.
WI Cover Crop Conference @ online
Feb 11 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Video Resources

Table Top Rainfall Demo

Aerial Seeding into Soybeans

Keith Berns Video

Gabe Brown Video

UW Integrated Pest & Crop Management

Jay Fuhrer Video

Ray Archuleta video

Dr. Elaine Ingham Video

Steve Groff Video

Living Soil Video

Jerry Hatfield Video

Dr. Kris Nichols Video

Russell Hendrick video

Best Time Ever To Be in Agriculture- Dr. Lowell Catlett

Rick Clark 2020 WI Cover Crop Conference Keynote

Understanding Ag- From Stress to Strategy: Financial Planning During Challenging Times