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 and participate in conservation practice incentive payments.

2020 Plans

Roundtable discussion Jan 22 10:30 at TnD’s in Monticello.  All welcome to network and have lunch.  Carpool to the Cover Crop Conference in Stevens Point February 20.  Free registration through Farmers of the Sugar River.  The annual meeting will be held February 26 at the Albany Lion Club at 10:30.  Shop Talk will be at Jerry & Barb Daniels’ (N1400 block of CTY OK) on March 19.

2019 Activities

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.  Click here for cost share application.

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 a little 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 succeed this past year.  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

Farmers of the Sugar River Annual Meeting @ Albany Lions Club
Feb 26 @ 10:00 am – 3:15 pm

3rd annual meeting of the Farmers of the Sugar River at the Albany Lions Club in Albany.  Sign in starts at 10. Program starts at 10:30. Adam Lasch, a Lake Geneva Farmer will explain what he does to improve his soil with cover crops, interplanting and no-till.  After a hot lunch from the Albany Lions Club, we will give an update of the progress of the producer-led group (Farmers of the Sugar River) and then will hear from Aaron Augustian, a Kewaunee area Farmer talk about how he is able to use no-till and low disturbance manure injection on his farm.  Finally we will listen to Frank Lessiter talk about his perspective on the history of no-till and share stories he’s encountered in his editing career of No-Till Farmer Magazine.  Please RSVP to Tonya Gratz at 608-325-4195 ext 121 or email: Tonya.Gratz@wi.nacdnet.net by Feb 21.  We will charge $10 at the door to help offset costs of the event.


Land & Water Conservation Committee Meeting @ USDA Service Center Conference Room
Mar 5 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

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.

Groundwater Awareness Week
Mar 8 @ 12:00 am – Mar 14 @ 11:45 pm

People are reminded to turn their clocks ahead and to think about where their water comes from.  Local schools 4th and 5th graders will have the chance to  participate in GWA presentations and quiz show.

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