WAUNAKEE, Wis. — Yahara Pride Farms welcomed more than 100 guests to the annual Ag Innovation Field Day event on Aug. 16. New this year, the Ag Innovation Day was open to farmers, agribusinesses and the general public from across the state. In previous years, the event was designated for farmers in the Yahara Watershed, but organizers wanted to expand the reach of the programs and practices that are applicable to a wide audience.
The day kicked off with lunch, followed by several hours of field demonstrations. Manure was a central topic of the day and attendees had the chance to see dragline and tanker methods of applying manure using Low Disturbance Manure Injection techniques.
“Field days give farmers a chance to get up close and personal with new techniques and new equipment. The day also allows community members to learn about conservation techniques that their neighbors are using to protect the land, water and air of their community,” said Jeff Endres, chair of Yahara Pride Farms.
After the tours, there was a dinner where Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel delivered the evening keynote and emphasized the importance of farmers learning from farmers.
Brancel discussed the many innovative techniques happening in agriculture. Spreading the word through farmer-led conservation and sustainability initiatives is the best way to increase the adoption of the practices highlighted at the field day, he said.
Throughout the year, Yahara Pride Farms, a farmer-led, non-profit organization created in 2012, works to reduce phosphorus delivery to the Madison chain of lakes and the Yahara River through innovative agriculture techniques including: Low Disturbance Manure Injection, cover crops, waterways and harvestable buffers to name a few.
In 2015, farmers in the program reduced phosphorus delivery by 8,642 lbs. Since 2012, farmers have documented a total phosphorus delivery reduction of 15,872 lbs. Yahara Pride Farms has also developed a certification program where farms undergo an extensive voluntary audit process and achieve a specific passing score. In all cases, farms are provided with prioritized feedback on current conservation practices as well as areas for improvement. Yahara Pride Farms also engaged the community, public utilities, environmental groups and agribusiness through a holistic approach to