MADISON – Peninsula Pride Farms (PPF) of Kewaunee and Door counties is one of 27 groups of farmers to be awarded Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants by the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Farmers will work with conservation agencies and organizations to address soil and water issues specific to their local conditions.

PPF will receive a $10,000 allocation; together, the 27 groups will receive the full $750,000 included in the state budget for 2020. Grants range from just over $7,500 to $40,000 for conservation practice incentives, education and outreach, and water quality testing and monitoring efforts.

All projects are led by farmers in collaboration with local partner agencies and organizations to increase conservation activities in their watersheds.

In what Gov. Tony Evers has dubbed the Year of Clean Drinking Water, farmers continue to find value in the program and the opportunity to connect with other farmers on conservation issues.

“Without DATCP’s support, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that we have to get the word out about the importance of cover crops and regenerative agriculture,” said Tony Peirick, farm leader of the Dodge County Healthy Soils-Healthy Waters Group. “We really appreciate the consistent support we receive from this grant to continue promoting our message.”

This is the fifth round of grant awards since funding was made available in the 2015-17 state budget.

Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants give financial support to farmers willing to lead conservation efforts in their own watersheds. The emphasis is on innovation and practices not already covered by other state and federal programs, and the intent is that participating farmers will reach out to other farmers to help them adopt conservation practices by offering incentives and through education and outreach activities.

Producer groups must work with the Department of Natural Resources, a county land conservation committee, UW-Extension, or a nonprofit conservation organization. Funds cannot pay for real estate, loans, equipment, or lobbying, and the program places caps on the amount of funding that can be used for staff support to the groups. Each group must start with at least five farmers in the watershed.